Kashmir highway reopens for essential service vehicles

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Srinagar: The 270-km-long national highway, connecting Kashmir valley with rest of the country, was on Thursday reopened for essential service vehicles after allowing only security force convoy from Srinagar to Jammu on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, essential service vehicles — carrying vegetables, fruits and other commodities — were plying normally on 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, the only road connecting the Union Territory of Ladakh with rest of the country.

“Empty trucks and oil tankers were on Thursday morning allowed to ply from Srinagar to Jammu on the highway,” a traffic police official told UNI.
He said once these Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) cross Ramban, trucks — carrying vegetables, fruits and other essential items, besides oil tankers – would be allowed from Jammu to Srinagar at around 1400 hrs on Thursday.
On Wednesday, only security force convoy was allowed to ply from Jammu to Srinagar on Kashmir highway.
Since last month, only essential commodity vehicles have been allowed on the highway, where traffic was suspended on Tuesday for several hours due to landslides in Ramban area. However, SRTC vehicles have been ferrying stranded passengers between Srinagar and Jammu occasionally on the highway.
The Leh highway reopened on April 11 after remaining closed for the past about five months due to accumulation of snow and slippery road conditions. However, only vehicles carrying essentials, including petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders, were allowed to ply on the highway.
He said no passenger vehicles will be allowed on the highway, where health checkup for truckers and their helpers — while going to Ladakh and the way back — has been made mandatory to curtail spread of Coronavirus. “Only a driver and a helper would be allowed with a truck, carrying essential commodities to the Union Territory of Ladakh,” he added.
“Due to the sub-zero temperature, trucks are being allowed to move to Leh UT, from 1000 hrs onwards,” he said, adding each truck will carry only 11 tones of load on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway, because of hilly, slippery terrain and weather vagaries.