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Heavy snowfall disrupts normal life in Kashmir

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All flights cancelled, Sgr-Jmu highway closed, electric supply disrupted; weather to improve Thursday onwards

Srinagar: Normal life was disrupted in Kashmir on Wednesday as most areas of the valley received fresh snowfall disrupting electric supply, road connectivity, flight and railway operations and leading to the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.

Most areas of the valley received moderate to heavy snowfall which started in the night and was going on when last reports came in.

Officials said that the areas in the higher reaches of the Union Territory received very heavy snowfall — around two feet or more.

The officials said Srinagar – the summer capital of the union territory – recorded about eight inches.

The authorities have pressed men and machinery into service to clear the snow off the roads, many of which, such as those leading to hospitals and other vital installations, are being cleared on priority, the officials said.

Meanwhile, chief engineer KPDCL said that power supply to all district headquarters, except Kulgam will be ensured by Wednesday evening. “In Srinagar 85% power supply will be restored by Wednesday evening. The restoration work on electric Tower at Kulgam is likely to take more time,” he said.

The air traffic to and from Kashmir was affected on Wednesday as all flights at the Srinagar airport were cancelled due to bad weather in the wake of heavy snowfall in the Valley, officials said.

“All flights of all airlines have been cancelled,” said Kuldeep Singh, director, Airport Authority of India (AAI), Srinagar airport.

The flight operations at the airport were affected due to bad weather and low visibility in the wake of heavy snowfall across the Valley. A total of 41 flights have been cancelled, he said.

The visibility was below 400 metres and the continuous snowfall made the operations impossible, he added.

Singh said the passengers of the cancelled flights will be adjusted on the next available flights.

Train service between Baramulla and Banihal was suspended this morning due to the accumulation of snow on the railway tracks, the officials said.

The 300-km Jammu-Srinagar highway was closed as besides snowfall, it received heavy rains resulting in shooting stones at a few places, they said.

Traffic was barred on either side of the highway, the officials added.

Many vehicles have been stranded at different points of the highway due to the closure.

“The highway was closed for vehicular movement due to landslides and shooting stones at many places and snow accumulation around the Navyug tunnel”, an official said.

Traffic has been halted at Cafeteria Morh Ramban, Maroog, Panthiyal and Sherbibi, they said.

“No fresh traffic is being allowed from Jammu or Srinagar”, a traffic police official said.

The Meteorological department has said that a gradual decrease in rain and snow is expected from Wednesday afternoon, and there would be a significant improvement in the weather evening onwards.

“Overall improvement is most likely from Thursday onwards. After this spell, there is no forecast of any major rain/snow till the end of this month,” the Met office said.

The authorities have appealed to people to not move out of their homes unless absolutely necessary.

“Snow clearance machines of MED (mechanical engineering department) and other departments are clearing the snow mechanically and manually from the main roads since early morning, but due to continuous snowfall, the roads are very slippery and there are chances of accidents,” the authorities said in an advisory.

Essential services being restored on war footing: Div Com

The Divisional Commissioner (Div Com) Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole today said that all the essential services are being restored on a war footing basis for the convenience of the general public.

Plains of South Kashmir received two to three feet snow, while Central Kashmir received one to 1.5 feet snow and North Kashmir six inches to one foot. Besides, hilly areas received two to four feet snow which affected normal life and services.

“All the essential services are being restored on war footing in Kashmir valley following heavy snowfall since Tuesday,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said.

He also appealed general people to keep patience and support the administration to restore affected services.

“The Mechanical Engineering Department completed 70 per cent snow clearance under Priority Phase-I while PWD cleared snow from all the roads falling under its jurisdiction,” he said.

Pole said apart from five to six per cent water supply lines which have been affected, all other Water Supply Schemes are functional.  He said that the affected water supply schemes will be restored soon for which men and machinery have been put on work.

Regarding the power scenario, the Divisional Commissioner said that 20 to 25 per cent power lines have been affected due to snowfall.

He said Divisional administration is working to restore electricity to the affected areas by evening.

Pole said that no casualty has been reported till now due to the snow and that all the hospitals are functional while entire medical and paramedics staff is available in hospitals to render their duties and services.

He also appealed people not to park their vehicles on the road sides so that snow clearance operations do not face any hindrance.

He further appealed to people not to throw snow of their lawns on the streets or lanes as it creates difficulties for the people and snow clearing teams.

7 houseboats, 6 Shikaras submerge at Dal Lake, Chinar Bagh

DC Sgr visits spot, assesses damages

Srinagar: At least six houseboats in Dal Lake and one at Chinar Bagh were submerged on Wednesday after a fresh snowfall across Kashmir.

Official sources said that six houseboats including HB New Simla, HB Honey Moon, HB Bangkok, HB Young Marmandie, HB Holly Wood and HB Kings Throne got submerged in Dal waters.

KNO reported that a houseboat at Chinar Bagh belonging to one Fayaz Ahmad Darma, son of Abdul Aziz Darma of Chinar Bagh was partially submerged.

Half a dozen Shikaras too got submerged into the Dal waters, KNO reported.

However, no loss of life or injury has been reported.

Moreover, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad toured Dal Lake areas here to oversee the damages caused to the houseboats and Shikaras due to overnight snowfall.

The Deputy Commissioner, who was accompanied by, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Dr Syed Haneef Balkhi visited Dal Lake areas via motor boat to inspect the houseboats and Shikaras, which got sunk due to snowfall.

DC directed the Revenue officials to assess the damages and furnish the details at an earliest.

Asad assured the affected house-boat owners and Shikara walas that all possible assistance will be extended to them from the Administration/SDRF Team.

The beauty and ugliness of the snowfall in Srinagar. Pic/Javed Khan

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