Kashmir: Heavy snowfall disrupts essential services

Published on Feb 24, 2022 01:00 AM IST

Widespread snowfall in Kashmir and rains in Jammu on Wednesday, caused large-scale disruptions, including blocking the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, suspending flights at Srinagar Airport, halting train services between Banihal and Baramulla and forcing the authorities to cancel examinations at Kashmir University and SKIMS Medical University

A machine clearing snow from the road in Srinagar on Wednesday. (Waseem Andrabi/HT)
A machine clearing snow from the road in Srinagar on Wednesday. (Waseem Andrabi/HT)
ByAshiq Hussain, Srinagar

Widespread snowfall in Kashmir and rains in Jammu on Wednesday, caused large-scale disruptions, including blocking the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, suspending flights at Srinagar Airport, halting train services between Banihal and Baramulla and forcing the authorities to cancel examinations at Kashmir University and SKIMS Medical University.

After mild rains on Tuesday, snowfall started at night, covering the length and breadth of the Himalayan Valley as the western disturbance had hit the region a day earlier. The capital, Srinagar, which saw relatively less precipitation this season, finally recorded a good spell of snowfall.

“Moderate to heavy rain and snow, with very heavy snow at isolated locations, were seen at most places in J&K. Higher reaches are reporting 1-2 feet of snow and there are thunderstorms in the Jammu region,” said director of J&K’s meteorological centre Sonam Lotus. Rains and snowfall continued throughout the day and then there was some improvement in the evening.

“After widespread heavy rain and snow, there has been significant decrease in precipitation. Expect further decrease from tonight and overall improvement from tomorrow onwards in all of J&K. After this spell, there’s no forecast of any major rain and snow till end of February,” added Lotus.

In the two days, highest snowfall of 55.5 cm was recorded in Qazigund. It was 48.6 cm in Gulmarg, 44.9 cm in Pahalgam and 44 cm in Kokernag. The highest rainfall of 95.4 mm was recorded in Jammu’s Banihal, followed by 70.6 mm in Bhaderwah.

Essential services being restored on war footing: Pole

The Kashmir administration has issued helpline numbers of different departments, including mechanical engineering, roads and buildings, irrigation and flood control, municipality among others for the convenience of the public.

The clock tower at Lal Chowk covered in Srinagar. (Waseem Andrabi/HT)
The clock tower at Lal Chowk covered in Srinagar. (Waseem Andrabi/HT)

While there were complaints of non-clearance of snow from the roads, divisional commissioner of Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, said that all the essential services are being restored on a war footing. He added that the mechanical engineering department has completed 70% snow clearance while the PWD has cleared snow from all the roads falling under its jurisdiction.

He added that 5 to 6% water supply lines have been affected, which will be restored soon for which men and machinery have been deployed.

‘60% power supply restored across Valley’

There was a major power outage across the Valley from the night hours, which continued during the day till evening,due to serious damage to power infrastructure including transmission towers. Chief engineer of Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL), Aijaz Ahmad Dar, said on Wednesday evening that they have restored 60% of the power supply across the Kashmir Valley.

“We have restored the highest 70% power in the Srinagar city and Kulgam district in south Kashmir will take some time in the restoration as there is zero percent electricity in the district owing to tower damage,” he said.

700 Kashmir-bound trucks stranded in Ramban, Helicopter service to Vaishno Devi shrine suspended

Nearly 750 Kashmir bound trucks carrying essentials were left stranded, after heavy rains triggered fresh landslides and blocked the 270 km long Jammu-Srinagar national highway (NH-44) in Ramban district, said officials.

SSP, traffic, national highway, Shabir Malik said that NH-44 will remain closed on Thursday as snow has accumulated on the highway and the road has become slippery. He added that the rainfall through Wednesday also hampered the road clearance operations.

“The rains stopped in the evening and men and machinery are at work to clear the debris, but we will not allow any fresh traffic movement from Jammu and Srinagar. If weather turns normal on Thursday, we will first clear the stranded vehicles for Kashmir, provided snow is cleared on the Qazigund side and beyond,” said Malik.

Meanwhile, helicopter service to Sanji Chhat from Katra for the Vaishno Devi pilgrims was also suspended. However, the pilgrimage carried on normally.

41 flights cancelled

All flights at the Srinagar Airport were cancelled during the day. “The passengers will be adjusted in the next available flight. There were a total of 41 cancellations,” the airport said in a tweet. However there were concerns over overcharging by airlines for cancelled flights.

“This is how passengers to Srinagar are getting shafted by airlines - all flights got cancelled today and people who had paid 3000/4000 for their seats are told to rebook. Suddenly, the same flights are being quoted at 12,000/ 14,000. Daylight robbery & no government intervenes,” said National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah in a tweet.

Exams cancelled

Meanwhile, Kashmir University and SKIMS Medical University postponed all their exams scheduled for Wednesday. Officials of both universities said the new dates for the postponed exams will be notified later.

The lowest night temperature on Wednesday in Kashmir was recorded at the northern ski resort of Gulmarg, where mercury dropped to -5.2°C. The resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded -0.8°C. Mercury settled at 0°C in summer capital Srinagar during the night, while it was also 0°C in south Kashmir’s Qazigund, the gateway into Kashmir from Jammu.

(With inputs from HTC in Jammu)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, December 04, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals