At least 12 passengers, including a woman, were injured after their vehicle was hit by a boulder along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, which had to be eventually closed for traffic on Wednesday following fresh snowfall and incessant rains, officials said.
The Jammu-bound vehicle was hit by a shooting stone from a hillock overlooking the highway at Moumpassi-Ramsu in Ramban district late Tuesday evening, causing serious injuries to the woman, who is from Bihar, and minor injuries to 11 others, they said.
Most of the injured were discharged after first aid, while the woman who has suffered head injuries, has been referred to the Government Medical College hospital Jammu, they said.
Nine Bihar residents and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were travelling from Srinagar to Jammu in the vehicle driven by a local driver from Anantnag, the officials said.
They said the incident Tuesday evening did not have any impact on the movement of vehicles on the highway and later the authorities decided to continue traffic from Srinagar to Jammu on Wednesday as well.
However, the decision was reviewed Wednesday morning after which no traffic was allowed on the highway following fresh snowfall in the higher reaches and incessant rains in the plains.
The Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to Kashmir, experienced fresh snowfall leaving the road slippery, while incessant rains triggered landslides and shooting-of-stones at several places including Anokhi fall, battery cheshma and Panthiyal, the officials said.
The inclement weather is hampering the road clearance operation, they said, adding once the weather improves, efforts would be made to restore traffic on the highway as early as possible.
The highway had remained closed for over 15 days since the beginning of the new year owing to intermittent spells of snowfall and rains. On Tuesday, the one-way traffic was allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu after five days.
High altitude areas of Jammu and Kashmir experienced fresh spell of snowfall, while the plains were lashed by rains since Tuesday night.
The Met office has already predicted widespread to fairly widespread rain and snow across the state till tomorrow evening.