Snowfall throws life out of gear in Kashmir

Due to snowfall, most parts of Kashmir reeled under darkness as power lines had snapped. Chief engineer electric maintenance Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi said the power outage was caused by the breakdown of major supply lines due to the fall of foliage laden branches on the supply lines. (DH Photo)

Heavy snowfall in the upper reaches and moderate rains in the plains of Kashmir brought life to a standstill for a second consecutive day on Sunday with the national highway remaining closed and air traffic disrupted.

The season’s first major snowfall also disrupted electricity supply and hit inter-district road connectivity. Despite the administration claiming that machines had been moved out to clear snow on intra-and inter-district roads, scores of vehicles remained stuck on roads across the valley, reports said.

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road link between Kashmir and the rest of the country, remained closed for the second consecutive day as the 264-km road has been blocked by landslides at several places on the other side of the Pir Panjal mountain range, an official said. Over 300 passengers, including dozens of security personnel, were rescued on Saturday night after they were caught in heavy snowfall near the Jawahar tunnel.

Flight operation from Srinagar airport resumed in the afternoon after snow was cleared from the runways. 

The valley witnessed snowfall in November for the first time since 2009,  throwing life out of gear. This was the fourth time since 2000 that Srinagar has recorded snowfall in November. The summer capital witnessed snow in 2004, 2008 and 2009, reveal records available with the meteorological department.

Due to snowfall, most parts of Kashmir reeled under darkness as power lines had snapped. Chief engineer electric maintenance Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi said the power outage was caused by the breakdown of major supply lines due to the fall of foliage laden branches on the supply lines.

“Due to disruption of transmission lines, our supply has come down to 80 megawatts instead of the usual 1300 megawatts of routine supply,” he said and added that the entire manpower of the power development department is working on the restoration of the transmission lines and grid stations.

In wake of the snowfall, the authorities have decided not to allow any light motor vehicle (LMV) towards famous ski-resort Gulmarg from Tangmarg without any anti-skid chains. An official warned that there was a danger of avalanches near the Line of Control (LoC) in higher areas of Kashmir for the next 24 hours.  

“There is the possibility of medium danger avalanche for higher reaches and people staying in snowbound areas are advised not to venture in avalanche prone area,” he said and added that weather was likely to improve by Sunday.

The season's first snowfall also caused extensive damage to apple orchards in the upper reaches of south Kashmir districts of Shopian and Pulwama. “20 to 30% of the apple production is still lying on plants. Fruit growers were waiting to supply it in this week due to upcoming Diwali festival.,” said Chairman Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Association, Bashir Ahmad Basheer.   

“However, heavy snowfall has put in peril fruits worth Rs 1000 crore across Kashmir. As of now, we don’t know the extent of the damage,” he added.

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Snowfall throws life out of gear in Kashmir

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