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Rains lash Valley, Jammu-Srinagar highway blocked again

Rains lash Valley, Jammu-Srinagar highway blocked again
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Despite downpour schools open in Kashmir zone

Banihal/Jammu: A landslide blocked the strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Ramban district on Monday as the high-altitude areas experienced fresh snowfall, while the plains were lashed by rains, officials said.
The landslide struck the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, at Kharpora near Banihal around 1.40 pm, forcing suspension of traffic which was plying from Srinagar to Jammu, they said.
Despite incessant rains, they said the concerned agency pressed men and machines to remove the debris from the road to make it traffic worthy once again.
“The clearance operation is underway and the road is expected to be made operational within the next couple of hours,” an official of the Traffic Department said.
The traffic on the highway plies alternatively from the twin capital cities owing to the ongoing four-lane project.
The officials said the peripheral areas of Banihal, including the Jawahar Tunnel – the gateway to Kashmir, besides several other high-altitude areas including the famous ski resort of Patnitop and Kud witnessed fresh snowfall, engulfing the region in renewed cold.
The winter capital Jammu and other plains were also lashed by rains since Monday morning, resulting in considerable drop in the mercury.
The local Meteorological (MeT) department however, predicted improvement in the weather conditions from Tuesday morning.
Deputy Director MeT Mukhtar Ahmad said that light snowfall has occurred in higher reaches in South Kashmir and would continue till late evening.
He added that as per the predictions, light rains and snow occured at isolated places including plains across the Valley on Monday.
Ahmad added that MeT is predicting improvement in the weather conditions from Tuesday morning till March 18.
However, he said according to the prediction, there is possibility of light rains across the Valley and snowfall in Gulmarg and Sonamarg areas in between Mar 13-14 especially on Mar 14.
He said the weather in between these days would remain mostly cloudy.
Meanwhile, despite rains schools in Kashmir opened after remaining closed for more than three months for winter vacations.
The schools in the region were closed in December last year for winter vacations and were scheduled to reopen on March 5.
However, the government decided to extend the winter vacation by a week in view of the inclement weather.
The schools in Kashmir close usually for two and half months for winter vacation, while summer vacations are limited to a week or 10 days.


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