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Snow blocks access to Kashmir's famous Mughal Road

Rajouri (J-K) , Tue, 27 Mar 2012 ANI

Rajouri (J-K), Mar.27 (ANI): The famous Mughal Road, an arterial highway connecting Rajouri and Poonch districts with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir has been closed due to heavy snowfall.

The road acts as a a lifeline for the border villages of Kashmir.

Hundreds of people were stranded for hours, with traffic being diverted to lesser-crowded areas.

Though authorities launched the snow clearance operation and sophisticated machines were pressed into service, the situation has not really improved.

Locals said that the snow clearance process would take at least 10-12 days to complete.

"The snow is being cleared for the last 15-20 days and it will take another 10-12 days to completely clear it. There is too much snow, like you can see there are several machines here, a bull dozer and even others," said Mohsin, a local.

Meanwhile, engineers believed that if a tunnel is constructed on the arterial highway, the situation was likely to improve, as the distance would be marginally reduced, apart from other benefits.

"If a tunnel is constructed, then the distance would be reduced by 30-35 kilometres and the road could be used all throughout the year. Using ordinary machinery would not solve the problem, there will be certain problems, during avalanches and accidents can occur too. So, there is a problem of alignment during winters," said Executive Engineer, Mughal Road, Abdul Ganni.

Heavy snowfall in the region this year has left locals to bear the brunt of the continuing cold snap as closure of the highway had impeded travel and food supplies.

This year's brutal cold wave and incessant snowfall had also severely disrupted power and water supplies.

Kashmir, still sullen and deeply alienated from India, cannot, it seems, escape the power of India's 1.6 trillion dollar economy growing at eight percent despite severe problems of governance that have taken the shine off the country as an investment destination. (ANI)

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