Snow and Avalanche Center 2019 Avalanche News

A Dozen Snow Avalanches Occurred on Srinagar-Leh Highway During 24 Hours
About 150 truck drivers, others rescued from Srinagar-Leh highway

Srinagar, Nov 23 (UNI) - About 150 truck drivers and others were rescued on Saturday during a day-long operation from different places on 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh National Highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, which was closed following heavy snowfall.

Meanwhile, a senior police officer and an official of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) had a narrow escape after an avalanche hit the area while they were supervising rescue operation in Zojila pass on Friday.

Besides over two to three feet of fresh snowfall was witnessed on Zojila pass, India gate and Zero point, where about a dozen snow avalanches occurred on Srinagar-Leh highway during the past 24 hours.

The road was still closed and BRO has already put into service sophisticated machines and men to put through the highway, officials told UNI.

However, they further said, continued snowfall and avalanches have hampered highway opening process.

Officials said about 180 trucks got struck at different places on Zojila pass, the most avalanche prone area on the highway. The District Administration of Ganderbal besides police and BRO during day-long operation on Friday rescued about 150 truckers and others and brought them to Sonmarg in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal till late in the night.

However, truckers remained stranded in Zojila, they said, adding some snow clearance machines also got struck there (Zojila). Hundreds of passengers and truckers were also rescued on Thursday. There were about a dozen snow avalanches at different places on the highway, hampering snow clearance operation during the past 36 hours. “The BRO has again started snow clearance operation despite avalanche threat,” they said.

The highway, the only road connecting Ladakh with Kashmir, remained closed for six months during winter due to below freezing temperature and accumulation of snow since November 1 every year. However, for the past few years due to efforts of the local administration and BRO, highway now remains open in the month of December also till there is heavy snowfall.

Earlier, the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, was taking decision to close the highway for winter months. However, since Ladakh has now become an independent Union Territory (UT), decision to close or reopen the highway will have to be taken by administration in UT Ladakh and Kashmir.

Officials said Lt Governor R K Mathur chaired a high level meeting at Leh on Srinagar-Leh highway in which senior officers from Ganderbal administration, police and traffic took part.

The meeting was informed that the highway will remain open until there is risk of accidents due to heavy snowfall and slippery road conditions below freezing temperature.

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