Fire-pots (Kangri) and woolens are back in Kashmir at a time when the day temperature is sweltering above 40 degrees Celsius in most parts of northern India. An intermittent rain, which is on for the last 14 days, has brought day temperature down by 13 notches in Srinagar, as day temperature hovers around 10-11 degrees Celsius.
Meteorological department on Tuesday predicted more rain in the next 24hours. "A Western disturbance still persists over Jammu and Kashmir. There will be rain. But might improve in a couple of days," a Met official said.
The Met Department forecasts snowfall in upper reaches of Pir Panjal mountains and Zojilla Pass ---- the Ladakh region's only land link with the Valley. The Srinagar-Leh highway is closed for vehicular traffic due to the rain.
Since the first week of May, Kashmir has witnessed more than 30 mm of rain. "Compared to the past two years, there has been severe cold this year in May," admitted Sonam Lotus, Kashmir MeT director.
Rain, however, has disrupted daily life in Kashmir. Water logging in low lying areas has made it difficult for people to venture out. "I have taken off for the day from the office. Lanes of our area are flooded and cars develop snag with water streaming in," said Abdul Latief, a resident of Natipora and an employee with the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD).
Situation is grim in south Kashmir where river Jhelum is flowing over danger mark at several places. The Urban Engineering and Environment Department and Flood and Control Department have put its official on high alert to meet any eventuality in Kashmir. More than six dewatering machines have been working round the clock in the city.
The department, however, has failed to bring any relief to the city residents as Lal Chowk, uptown areas and downtown areas’ main roads remain inundated in rain water. Uptown area is the worst affected.
Worst affected are Kashmir farmers in the Valley. In Ganderbal, Anantnag, Pulwama, farmers, who has sown paddy, offered special prayers in mosques.
The state government had predicted drought-like situation this summer and asked farmers to plant corn other than rice. A total area under rice cultivation in Kashmir is 263.25 thousand hectares acres, which yields 5620 thousand quintals per acre.
"This dip in temperature and rainfall is temporary phase. It won’t help to change conditions in August, September when we need water to irrigate paddy fields," claimed Mian Majeed, Director Agriculture, Kashmir.
Eleven people have died in cloud burst in upper reaches in Kashmir since April 23 and more than 100 domestic animals killed across the Valley, said a government official.