Highway Opens, South Still Severely Disrupted1 January 2011
Srinagar: With the weather showing signs of marked improvement, the Srinagar-Jammu highway was reopened for traffic on Saturday, allowing hundreds of stranded vehicles to proceed to their destinations. But the situation in many valley areas, particularly south Kashmir, continued to remain grim due to blocked roads and severely disrupted power supply, as the administration was unable to restore essential services. Scores of goods carriers and hundreds of passenger vehicles were dispatched to their destinations this afternoon as the Srinagar-Jammu highway opened for traffic after remaining closed since Wednesday night. Light motor vehicles waiting at Qazigund were allowed to proceed to Jammu, but heavy carriers were ordered to stay put. The traffic police said that nearly 2000 vehicles had been held up on the highway, and were cleared in phases as the weather improved with the route becoming motorable. Life in south Kashmir, however, remained severely disrupted as many areas continued to be cut off due to snow-blocked roads. Though some routes, including that to the district headquarters Anantnag, have been cleared, many areas such as Noorabad, New Kandimarg, Manzgam, Kharbhatpora, Nandimarg, Khal Ahmadabad, Samar Nar Waav, Lagupora, Badi Jaalan and other villages remain accessible because of snow-blocked roads. Locals said that their villages were in total darkness due to disruptions in power supply which the authorities had failed to restore. Heavy snowfall in south Kashmir had snapped power transmission lines at many places and uprooted electric poles, plunging large areas into darkness. There were several instances of locals forming voluntary road gangs to clear snow from blocked roads. People in Dandwa started road-opening operations of their own today to enable a local woman who had died in a Srinagar hospital the day before to be carried on a stretcher to her native village for burial. Similarly, locals cleared the road from Nagbal in Tral to Machahama without any assistance from the administration.