Heavy snowfall cripples Kashmir

Heavy snowfall cripples Kashmir

Heavy snowfall lashed Kashmir on Tuesday night, throwing life out of gear and cutting off the Valley from the rest of the country with Srinagar-Jammu national highway closed for traffic.

Incessant snowfall also disrupted power and water supply in most parts of Kashmir.
Local Metrological office director of the Sonam Lotus said this was the heaviest snowfall in the past 10 years in January and there was a similar forecast for the next 24 hours. He cautioned people living near mountains against venturing out in view of the threat of avalanches and snow-slides.

Around one foot snow had accumulated in Srinagar, two feet in Gulmarg, eight inches in Baramulla, 2.5 feet in south Kashmir tourist resort Pahalgam, 2.5 feet in north Kashmir’s ski resort Gulmarg and around three feet near the Jawahar Tunnel area on the national highway by 3 pm on Wednesday, he said.

Traffic was thin and most of the business establishments, including shops, remained closed in city centre Lal Chowk and surrounding markets.

A Traffic Police officer said the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, Kashmir’s only road link to the rest of the country, was closed

No vehicular traffic would be allowed on the highway on Thursday also, Lotus said.
Reports said hundred of vehicles, including light motor vehicles  and goods laden trucks, were stuck at various places on the highway due to closure of the highway.

The heavy snowfall resulted in the cancellation of all flights to and from Srinagar.
“Bad weather led to the cancellation of all the flights,” said an airport official. Around 22 flights operate from the airport in winter.

Train service was also suspended following the heavy snowfall across Kashmir. “No train was allowed to ply from Banihal to Qazigund to Srinagar to Baramulla or vice versa as the railway track remained covered with snow,” said a railway official.

Except a few areas of Srinagar city, the majority of the Kashmir Valley had been without electricity since Tuesday night. Kashmir University  postponed all examinations for Wednesday and Thursday due to the heavy snowfall.

People across the Valley city complained that authorities failed to clear the snow from roads resulting in tremendous hardships for them.

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