Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waited for the weather to improve for three hours and was cleared by the authorities, but due to the road closure, the marchers were asked to spend another night at Ramban.
Bad weather and landslides on Wednesday forced the postponement of the second leg of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ which was to begin from Banihal town later this afternoon. Rahul Gandhi proceeded with the yatra from Ramban on Wednesday morning amid heavy rains but had to stop due to bad weather. Now the yatra will resume on Friday after a day’s rest tomorrow. Anyway, the journey from Ramban to Banihal on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is very challenging. Let us tell you that on this 270 kilometer long and only highway connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country, there are many parts like Panthiyal, Mehar and Magarkot where there is a possibility of falling of stones from the mountains amid rains.
Meanwhile, in Ramban district, traffic on the highway was suspended on Wednesday after heavy rains triggered stone pelting at some places. It is being told that a truck driver was killed and two others were injured due to falling stones. Regarding Rahul Gandhi’s visit, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “The further leg of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Ramban and Banihal has been canceled due to bad weather and landslides in the area.” Tomorrow is a day of rest and the yatra will now resume the day after tomorrow on January 27 at eight in the morning.
Earlier today, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Jahanzaib Sirwal had said that the yatra started at around 9 am from Bathi with a delay of one hour due to heavy rains and completed the first leg on the 131st day. Rahul, who started the yatra wearing his signature white T-shirt, later donned a black raincoat. Despite the rain, a large number of Congress workers and supporters gathered on the road with the tricolor in their hands to welcome Rahul. J&K Congress President Vikar Rasool Wani was seen walking with Rahul Gandhi and introducing him to several leaders. Banihal resident Vikar Rasool Wani said, “We covered about six kilometers in Ramban and were to resume the journey by vehicles later this afternoon, two kilometers before Banihal after crossing the landslide prone area. The yatra has been postponed today as district administration and police advised not to proceed further due to high risk of rock fall.
He said Rahul Gandhi waited for the weather to improve for three hours and got permission from the authorities, but due to the road closure, the yatra participants were asked to spend another night at Ramban. The Congress leader said, “The yatra will take a rest on Thursday and resume from Banihal on Friday to enter Kashmir.” According to officials, a few inches of snow fell in Lambar, where the yatra was to be held for the night. On the other hand, the Meteorological Department has forecast rain in the plains and heavy snowfall in the high altitude areas today.
It is noteworthy that Rahul’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ started from Kanyakumari on September 7 and entered Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday via Punjab. At the end of the visit, Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to hoist the national flag at the party headquarters in Srinagar and address a rally at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium on January 30.
On the other hand, as far as the weather of Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, let us tell you that there has been fresh snowfall at most places in Kashmir, due to which the visibility has reduced to 500 meters. Due to this, air services were affected in the valley on Wednesday. Light to moderate snowfall was recorded at most places in Kashmir, while higher reaches received heavy snowfall. Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has forecast a reduction in the intensity of rain as the day progresses. Officials said that there was delay in movement of all flights at Srinagar airport. Although there was not much snow accumulation at the airport, flight operations were affected as visibility dropped to 500 metres. He informed that the flight operations will be restored when the visibility is at least 1000 meters.