300 stranded on Jammu-Srinagar highway due to snowfall rescued
Over 300 passengers, including dozens of security personnel, were rescued Saturday night after they were caught in heavy snowfall near the Jawahar tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, police said.
Senior Superintendent of Police (Ramban) Anita Sharma said the 270-km highway, connecting Kashmir with rest of the country, was closed for traffic tonight after heavy snowfall and multiple landslides rendered it unsafe.
“A rescue operation was launched after information was received that a large number of passenger vehicles were stranded in avalanche prone areas on the other side of the Jawahar tunnel,” Sharma told PTI.
She said so far about 300 Jammu-bound passengers have been rescued from the Kashmir side of the Jawahar tunnel and the Verinag Zing area, where more than one feet of snow had accumulated on the ground.
All the rescued passengers were brought to Banihal and provided accommodation inside shelter sheds, hotels, sarais and religious places, she said.
Four buses, a tempo traveller and a number of private vehicles were pressed into service to evacuate the stranded passengers to safety, Sharma said.
The SSP said food was provided to all of them.
She said fresh landslides had occurred at multiple places between Ramban and Banihal sector and it was not possible to allow stranded passengers to move towards Jammu.
Officials said dozens of soldiers were among those rescued during the operation.
The soldiers were heading for Jammu and their convoy got struck on the highway, they said, adding they were shifted to an Army camp in Banihal town.