SRINAGAR: The authorities, busy looking for bodies of civilians and cops near the Jawahar tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu highway till Friday evening as they came under an avalanche, said that they have rescued three persons so far.

The avalanche hit a police post near the tunnel on Thursday as the area witnessed one of the heaviest spells of snow so far in the season. According to officials, the area received over 6 feet of snow, triggering avalanches, landslides and shooting stones, forcing the traffic officials to shut the National Highway No.44.

Yet another heavy snowfall in Kashmir valley starting from Wednesday has thrown life out of gear with power disruption adding to the miseries and woes of people living here. Till Friday afternoon, majority of the villages in South Kashmir, especially in Kulgam district which witnessed over 6 feet of snow, were without any road clearance and power supply.

Frequent spells of snow have left authorities with helplessness on the ground as it is very difficult to clear the snow from the link roads of the villages in the entire Valley as this latest snowfall was the season’s 12th snowfall so far.

In Srinagar city, dozens of localities remained water-logged due to heavy spell of rains and snow. Civic authorities told The Sunday Guardian on Friday that it will take them several days to clear all the localities in the low-lying areas of the city, as dewatering can be done only with the help of power supply.

Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the only road connectivity between the Valley and rest of the country, remained shut for the third running day on Friday with authorities being not sure if it could be opened in next few days.

“There is heavy snowfall, landslides and shooting stones on a huge stretch from Banihal to Ramban. It is very difficult for us to keep the highway open,” said a senior traffic official. About 2,000 vehicles, mostly the trucks carrying supplies, are stranded all along the highway as they were told to proceed to the Valley a few days back, he added.

Senior BRO officials told the media in Jammu that they have pressed in all men and machinery to clear the highway from landslides and shooting stones. They said that the highway has become fragile due to heavy snow and rains in the past few weeks.  Two people were killed in a landslide in the Ramban sector of highway, officials said on Friday.

Officials in Srinagar admitted that the highway remained closed for 17 days and said that they are trying their best to keep it open.

Meanwhile, hundreds of stranded passengers in Jammu bus stand are demanding to be airlifted to Srinagar as they have been camping for the road clearance from several days. They accused the authorities of not helping them out.

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