Snowfall: Kashmir Valley remains cut off, life paralysed

Despite improvement in weather, life remained paralyzed across Kashmir on the second day on Wednesday as air traffic to and fro Srinagar Airport remained suspended while the Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained closed due to Tuesday’s heavy snowfall.

The snowfall, which began Tuesday morning, continued overnight in most parts of the Valley crippling normal life as most people preferred to remain indoors.

The 294-km national highway, the only all weather road link between Kashmir and rest of the country, remained closed as the road has been rendered unsafe for vehicular traffic at several places around Jawahar Tunnel due to snowfall, said a traffic police. “The traffic on the road will be allowed only after the road is declared safe,” he said and added that no passengers were stranded on the highway.

An airport official said that all the flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled on Wednesday for the second successive day due to slippery runway and poor visibility. “All 18 flights including two additional ones could not take off here due to weather conditions prevailing here,” he said.

The private airline operators said passengers whose flights were cancelled would be given seats in the next scheduled flights subject to the availability of seats. “The seats available in the next flight would be given to the passengers whose flights were cancelled during these two days on first come first serve basis,” said a manager of private airlines.

Meanwhile, normal life continued to remain affected in most parts of the valley as the snowfall snapped electricity supply lines. The residents in most parts of the valley are without electricity, since Tuesday morning.

However, most of the major roads in the city and elsewhere in the valley have been cleared. The snow clearance operations are now focused on restoring link roads.

An official spokesperson said Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, who arrived here on Wednesday received first hand appraisal of the restoration of public services and mitigation of difficulties resulted due to heavy snowfall in the Valley.

“Chairing a high-level meeting of divisional officers here this afternoon, Omar reviewed the measures put in place by the administration to attend to the road clearance operation, supply of electricity, drinking water, stock and supply of essential commodities, functioning of health institutions, status of national highway and plying of traffic on various district routes, Srinagar city and towns,” he said.

The Chief Minister was told that 80 percent electric supply will be restored in the Valley by the evening, while it will be 90 per cent in Srinagar and North Kashmir districts.

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