Farhat Naik

Little bit snow turns Kashmir topsy-turvy

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Valley cut off from rest of the country; life in Sringar comes to standstill amid massive traffic mess; populations face acute power and water shortage

SNOWFALL IN SRINAGAR. PHOTO/Javed Khan

Srinagar: Surface and air links between the Kashmir Valley and rest of the country were snapped due to heavy snowfall here while as most of the Srinagar roads remained chocked with people with their vehicles forced to spend hours together on the roads.

The season’s first snowfall in Srinagar began on Saturday afternoon and several inches of snow had accumulated in the city.

An official of the MeT Department said this was first time since 2009 that Srinagar city witnessed snowfall in November.

“So rare is the occurrence that in the last two decades, it was only the fourth time that it has snowed in Srinagar in November with 2008 and 2004 being the earlier instances,” he said.

Reports of heavy snowfall were received from other district headquarters and major towns of the Valley as well, officials said, adding that it continued to snow in the higher reaches of Kashmir for the second day, triggering avalanches at some places.

“Avalanches were triggered in some parts of Gurez in Bandipora district, Men and machinery have been deployed to clear the roads, wherever necessary at the earliest,” they said.

A spokesman of the Traffic Department said the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the arterial road connecting the valley with rest of the country, has been closed for vehicular traffic due to heavy snowfall.

Air traffic to and fro Srinagar international airport was also stopped due to snowfall with several late afternoon and evening flights cancelled, the officials said.

The snowfall has set in cold wave like conditions in the Valley as electricity supply in many areas was snapped as a precautionary measure, they said, adding that dewatering pumps were made operational in the city to avoid waterlogging.

Almost all roads in Srinagar remained chocked for hours today and the traffic department failed to manage the traffic.

I left SP College at 5 PM and am still stuck at J&K Bank Coporate Headquarter at 7.30 PM, said a teacher.

Others too had to narrate identical stories.

“It was a routine snowfall, though a bit earlier but not a disaster and everything went topsy-turvy. Where are the tall claims of authorities about winter preparedness,” said another commuter.

To add insult to injury, most parts of the Kashmir Valley are groping under darkness. Not to mention about rural areas, even many localities in Srinagar have no electricity since Saturday morning.

“There is traffic mess all over, there is no electricity, there is no water, even important roads to hospitals have not be cleared. Where is the state administration? Has it got buried under just few inches of snow?” said a shopkeeper in Jawahar Nagar, looking at hordes of vehicles moving at snail’s pace all around.

Sources said that there has been massive outage of grid stations and transmission lines due to heavy snowfall on trees full of foliage.

“About 3500 KM length of line to be restored. 7000 plus employees of PDD on job. We will work all through the night and do our best to restore,” said a top official on a social media group.

The weatherman has forecast more downpour over the next 24 hours but predicted a dry period of two to three weeks from November 5.

Kashmir Images
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