Kashmir Valley on Saturday was cut-off from the rest of the world as snowfall led to the closure of the vital Srinagar-Jammu highway among other thoroughfares, besides affecting air traffic.
A non-local, whose identity was being ascertained by the police died apparently due to cold in Nazrullahpora in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Srinagar, the capital city received season’s first snowfall, dipping the day temperature sharply. Srinagar witnessed maximum of 6.3 degrees Celsius while night temperature plunged to 1.8 degree Celsius.
Srinagar, the capital city received more than an inch of snow till Saturday evening, while Qazigund received 1.6 inches, Pahalgam several inches and plains of Kupwara and Budgam nearly half a foot of snow.
In frontier Kupwara district, the upper reaches including Sadna top received 2 feet of snow, Z-Gali received 1.5-ft of snow and Ferkiyan Top of Keran received 1.5-ft of snow.
An official said that due to the snowfall, the roads connecting Gurez with Bandipora, Srinagar with Ladakh, Tanghdar, Keran and Machhil with Kupwara were closed.
The famous Gulmarg Valley received more six inches of fresh snowfall, officials told the news agency.
The season’s snowfall also led to massive disruption in traffic in this capital city, witnesses said. Unruly scenes were witnessed on most of the roads leading to the City Centre due to choked roads and unprecedented traffic jams.
The continued snowfall disrupted road communication and also affected the air-traffic as all inbound and outbound flights were canceled because of poor visibility.
The Srinagar-Jammu highway, the vital surface link connecting Valley with the outside world was closed for traffic due to heavy snowfall and rains. Earlier, a landslide at Ramsoo caused a brief disruption of traffic on the strategic highway. Many light motor and passenger vehicles, were stranded along the highway including, Qazigund, Banihal, Ramban, Ramsoo, Batote, Patnitop, Nagrota, and Udhampur, reports said.
Beacon, the agency responsible for the maintenance of the thoroughfare was making efforts to clear the highway.
Traffic also remained suspended on the 434 km Srinagar-Leh highway for the third consecutive day due to heavy snowfall around Zojila. Mughal road too remained closed for traffic even as police rescued over 120 people, mostly truck drivers stranded around Peer Ki Gali along the highway.
Snowfall and poor visibility also affected air traffic as incoming and outgoing flights were suspended at the Srinagar International airport.
“All flights were canceled this afternoon today due to poor visibility. No flight landed or took from Srinagar International airport,” an official of a private airliner told the news agency.
In wake of the snowfall, the district administration Srinagar today set up a helpline.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Saturday issued instructions to all concerned departments with regard to the preparedness about snow-clearance and dewatering in the district.
The departments were asked to ensure meeting any eventuality arising out of the prevalent weather situation in the district being directed to keep adequate men and machinery on standby. He instructed to ensure timely clearance of snow from all main roads, lanes and by-lanes, especially roads leading to important installations like hospitals and receiving stations.
The DC also directed all the departments to establish control rooms for the convenience of the general public.
The PDD was asked to ensure all power-related repairs are undertaken as soon as possible. He directed for close coordination between all the departments all during the current weather situation prevails.
It was said that Assistant Commissioner Revenue Srinagar Peerzada Zahoor (Mobile No. 7006690719/ 9419123429), Sub Divisional Magistrate (East) Srinagar Riyaz Ahmad Beigh (9419026036) and Sub Divisional Magistrate (West) Hameeda Akhter (9682666597/ 9018668253) will function as nodal officers to monitor the situation within their areas of jurisdiction.
The general public have been asked to contact the following numbers in case of any eventualities: DC Office Srinagar 0194-2483229/0194-2477033/0194-2472580/9419042342/ 7051112345, R&B Department 0194-2311364/9419012257, Fire & Emergency Services 0194-2479488/101/9419251908, Police Control Room 100, Mechanical Engineering Department 0194-2497458/9419747240, PDD 0194-2452001/9419019634, UEED 0194-2500444/9419176458, SMC 0194-2474499/9419065735, CAPD 0194-2455019, PHE 0194-2452047/7889587011, Health 0194-2452498/9906540795 and Drainage 9419004480.
Reports said that apple crop was damaged due to snowfall In south Kashmir parts including Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag. Achgoza, Bamnoo, Karazipora and Abhama in Pulwama. Dalwan, Fotlipora, Tilsura, Malpora in Budgam. Rafiabad, Sopore, Handwara.
Meanwhile, weather department has predicted improvement in the weather conditions from tonight though isolated places in Jammu and Kashmir will receive more snow and rains on Sunday. (GNS)