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Kashmir highway closed again, 3,500 stranded
February 11, 2008 14:10 IST
Despite airlifting of about 5,000 stranded passengers, more than 3,500 people, including women and children, had to spend the night in their vehicles on the highway in below freezing temperature, after authorities announced reopening of the road on Sunday.
A traffic police official told UNI in Srinagar [Images] that no vehicles were allowed from Jammu or Srinagar on Monday.
"It is totally slippery at Patnitop and other areas," he said, adding, it would be risky to allow traffic in these conditions.
He said as the day progressed, the frozen portions of the road had started melting.
"We are now allowing only one vehicle to pass the danger zones with very low speed," he said, adding that normal movement of vehicles would be allowed only when the entire frozen area defreezes. Only vehicles that are stranded on the highway will be allowed to move towards Srinagar, he said.
Because of the sub-zero temperature, the road gets slippery, particularly in areas that witnessed heavy snowfall recently.
Official sources said, "Altogether 3,500 passengers, who left Jammu early Sunday morning after the authorities announced that highway was through, are stranded at different places on the highway."
A passenger, Nazir Ahmad, told UNI that they were stranded at Patnitop since Sunday afternoon.
"We left Jammu at 0500 hours and after reaching Patnitop, it was total confusion and chaos due to the road block," he said, adding that passengers, including women, children and elderly persons, besides tourists, had to spend the chilly night in their vehicles.
The hoteliers were charging Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per room, he alleged.