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Heavy snowfall throws life out of gear

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Day 2: Kashmir remains cut off from outer world; power breakdown, closed roads mock at administration’s ‘preparedness claims’

Srinagar: Despite early predictions and subsequent tall claims of preparedness, the administration once again failed to cope up with the snowfall on Thursday as the normal life was thrown out of gear in Kashmir due to delay in snow clearance, widespread power breakdown and water shortage.

The valley remained cut off for the second consecutive day as the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained closed and all the flights to and from Srinagar were cancelled due to non-stop snowfall and poor visibility.

Continuous snowfall in Kashmir over the past 24 hours has resulted disruption of essential services in most of the districts in the valley with electricity supply infrastructure suffering severe damage.

“We are on the job to restore the damaged infrastructure but the quantum of damage is very large and it will take some time to restore electricity back to normal,” an official of the divisional administration said.

The snowfall, which ranged between six inches in Srinagar to nearly three feet in some areas of south and north Kashmir, has blocked many roads within the valley.

However, officials said that snow clearance operations were started before dawn and all vital routes were cleared by the time people ventured out for daily activities.

They said, “As the snowfall has been continuous and in some areas we have had to repeat the snow clearance exercise.”

Though in Srinagar electricity continued playing hide-n-seek during the day, most of rural areas in Kashmir are groping in darkness from Wednesday evening.

In most parts of the Valley, the power supply breakdown has resulted into severe water shortage.

On Jammu-Srinagar highway, a fresh avalanche has struck near Jawahar tunnel on the valley side, blocking it’s north portal, an official said.

He said a decision on resuming traffic will be taken only after snow and debris of landslides is cleared and the weather improves.

Meanwhile, authorities have issued an avalanche warning of varying danger levels for 16 of the 22 districts of Jammu and Kashmir for the next 24 hours.

The Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE) issued high danger avalanche warning for Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kulgam and Kupwara districts in the valley while medium danger warning was issued for Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur and Leh districts.

A low danger warning was issued for Kargil District.

Man dies in Kokernag snow avalanche, wife trapped

10 policeman trapped in snow near Jawahar Tunnel

Anantnag: One person died after avalanche hit his residential house at Sanbradi Magam in Kokernag area of Anantnag district on Thursday evening.

Avalanche hit the residential house of Bashir Ahmad Qureshi son of Noor Mohammad Qureshi resident of Sanbradi Magam of Kokernag, an official said.

He said Qureshi died while his wife continues to remain trapped under snow, even as efforts were being made to rescue her.

Meanwhile, ten policemen were reportedly trapped after a snow avalanche hit a police post near Jawahar Tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu highway on Thursday amid heavy snowfall.

Sources said that a massive avalanche hit police post on the north portal (valley side) of Jewahar Tunnel this evening.

Sources said that while 10 cops have been rescued, another 10 still remain trapped.

Rescue operation is being carried out jointly by the state police, army and the locals, an official said, adding, the information is preliminary in nature as more details are awaited.


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