Srinagar: The arterial Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all-weather road link between Kashmir and rest of the country, remained closed for the fifth consecutive day today, choking supply of essentials to the Valley where prices of commodities have more than doubled in the past week.
"The Srinagar-Jammu road continues to remain closed for vehicular traffic in view of landslides at many places along the 294-km road. The road is slippery in certain snowbound areas," an official of the Traffic Control department told PTI. He said inclement weather was hampering efforts to restore traffic on the arterial highway. The official said as soon as the road is traffic-worthy, the stranded vehicles along the highway will be cleared for movement to their destination.
However, the flight operation at Srinagar airport, which resumed on Friday after three days of suspension, was going on as per schedule, Airport Authority of India officials said.
The closure of the national highway has resulted in depleting stocks of the essential commodities the valley and steep hike in prices of essential food grains. The price of lettuce, locally known as haakh, has gone up by 150 % from Rs20 per kg before snowfall last week to Rs50 per kg on Saturday. The prices of other vegetables have also seen a sharp increase of 80 to 100% in the past week.
Many distributors of cooking gas (LPG) claim that they have run out of stocks due to the closure of the highway as fresh supplies have not arrived from Jammu. Officials of the Divisional Administration could not be reached for a comment.
Meanwhile, rains and snowfall resumed in most parts of Kashmir a day after bright sun shone in the valley skies yesterday. Leh in Ladakh region was the coldest recorded place in the Kashmir division last night as the mercury plummeted to minus 10.1 degrees Celsius from previous night's low of minus 5.1 degrees Celsius, an official of the MET department said.
Gulmarg in north Kashmir Baramulla district recorded a low of minus 6.6 degrees Celsius last night while most other places also witnessed temperatures around the freezing point.