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Day 3: Flights remain grounded, highway closed

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As snowfall continues, MeT says weather to improve by Wednesday noon

Srinagar on Tuesday. Photo/Javed Khan

Power, water supply impacted badly; interior road wait official attention

Srinagar: As heavy snow continued to lash Kashmir, the Valley remained cut off from the outer world on third consecutive day.

Air traffic at Srinagar airport remained suspected while the Jammu-Srinagar highway also remained closed.

The 270-km highway was closed for traffic on Saturday night after Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to Kashmir, experienced snowfall that left over 4,500 vehicles, mostly trucks stranded on either side.

With no let up in the snow in and around Jawahar Tunnel coupled with multiple landslides, mudslides and shooting of stones from the hillocks overlooking the highway at various places between Samroli and Banihal, the strategic road was closed for vehicular traffic since Sunday, the officials said.

However, they said over 100 Jammu-bound trucks were cleared from Jawahar Tunnel area after the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) managed to clear the road of over three feet of accumulated snow on Monday evening.

Over 250 passenger vehicles and dozens of trucks carrying essential commodities to Kashmir valley were also cleared before the traffic was again halted at around 8 pm on Monday, the officials said, adding all the vehicles reached their destination safely.

Meanwhile, snow continued lashing entire Kashmir Valley with Kulgam district receiving highest snowfall as three to four feet of snow has accumulated at some places.

Anantnag district has also received heavy snowfall, officials said.

Srinagar city has witnessed moderate snowfall for the past three days and slippery roads resulted in traffic jams at some places.

The minimum temperature improved in most places in the valley due to the snowfall but still stayed below the freezing point, the officials said.

Srinagar city — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir — recorded a low of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius — up from the previous night’s minus 0.9 degrees Celsius, they said.

The minimum temperature in Gulmarg tourist resort settled at minus 4 degrees Celsius compared to minus 5 degrees Celsius a night earlier.

Pahalgam tourist resort recorded a low of minus 1.1 degrees Celsius – up from minus 6.7 degrees Celsius on the previous night, the officials said.

Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius, Kupwara, in the north, minus 0.7 degrees Celsius and Kokernag, minus 1.0 degrees Celsius.

The Meteorological department has predicted improvement in the weather from Wednesday morning.

“The prevailing weather condition is likely to continue till late tonight or early tomorrow (Wednesday). We are expecting a significant improvement in weather from Wednesday across J&K,” a spokesman of the MeT department said, predicting cold wave conditions from January 7.

Meanwhile, Jammu and other plains were lashed by heavy rains, while high altitude areas in the region experienced intermittent snowfall for the third day on Tuesday.

Jammu recorded 32.4 mm of rains during the past 24 hours ending 8.30 am Tuesday, the spokesman said, adding the city recorded a minimum of 11.9 degrees Celsius which was 4.6 degrees above normal during this part of the season.

Bhaderwah in Doda ditrict, Banihal and Batote in Ramban district experienced 4 cm, 3.2 cm and 0.5 cm of snowfall during the same period, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, as the heads of different government agencies continued patting themselves on social media sites for doing ‘great job’ in the wake of continuous snowfall, the ground realities suggested otherwise.

Tuesday evening, most of the areas, not only in rural Kashmir but capital city of Srinagar were still waiting the official machinery to clear the interior roads. Though inter-district roads and main roads in Srinagar were cleared, most of the interior roads, even in Srinagar city failed to attract the official attention.

The worst hit has been the power and water supply. Reports reaching from different areas of south, north and central Kashmir suggested that power supply continues to remain disrupted for the third consecutive day. Even in Srinagar city’s most of the areas, electric power supply continued playing hide-n-seek.

The water supply too has been hit badly all over the Valley.

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