Torrential rain across Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday hit Amarnath pilgrimage and forced cancellation of the scheduled visit of Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag to Ladakh.
Defence sources said inclement weather disallowed the minister and the Army Chief to take off from Srinagar to Ladakh, where they were scheduled to pay homage to those killed in the Kargil War (1999) on ‘Kargil Divas’.
Moreover, rain-triggered landslides in Ladakh left 130 tourists stranded on the Leh-Manali road. “The tourists trekked 15 km to a bus point, from where district administration officials and a police team escorted them to Leh,” said a Srinagar-based police spokesman.
The twin routes of Sonamarg and Pahalgam to the Amarnath Yatra in north and south Kashmir, respectively, also witnessed heavily rainfall. According to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board officials, pilgrimage to the holy shrine resume on Thursday from Baltal in Sonamarg only. The inclement weather hit the twin routes badly for the past four days.
The Kashmir Valley also witnessed unprecedented rain that left many areas inundated and rivers swelled. Panic gripped several areas in Srinagar’s Lal Bazaar and Bota Kadal area when water in the Dal Lake rose very fast.
According to the meteorological department, Srinagar received 5.6 mm rainfall, while Jammu 20.2 mm since Wednesday night.
Leh also witnessed around 6.0 mm of rain. “A total of 11.4 mm rainfall recorded in Srinagar till 11am,” they added. The unprecedented rain has also damaged the standing crop and hanging fruit in south Kashmir.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and Kulgam MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has asked the state government to go for immediate assessment of damages to horticulture sector and disburse financial relief to the affected families without any delay.