News Notes

Snow Wrath

Snow-Devastation

The uneven snowfall crippled the life across the valley. While it has affected the power supply, water supply and road and air connectivity, it also claimed 17 lives so far and leaving scores of structures including school buildings damaged. Avalanches have also been reported from Balsaran village of Danaiw Kandi Marg, 15 kilometres ahead of Damhal Hanjipora, Wednesday morning burying four residential houses and two Gujjar hutments with all family members trapped inside.

In order to tackle the emergency situation government has so far claimed to have restored the power supply in most of the areas. However, the same was yet to be restored in Rafiabad, Baramulla, Uri, Sopore Tangmarg Ferozpora, Mayan, Drung, Qazipora, Waripora, Hajibal, Chuntipathri, Harde-Ichloo, Bandibala and Chitreharan from north Kashmir. The border areas of Karnah, Keran and Machil in Kupwara district are also reeling under darkness. As the power supply in the south Kashmir has been restored, but most of the villages are under darkness. The entire Shopian district reels under darkness.

The horticulture industry has also suffered huge losses worth hundreds of crores in Pulwama and Shopian as snowfall has uprooted thousands of trees in these districts. Areas of Pulwama district including Nownagri, Palapora, Chakoora, Newa, Chandgam, Wagargund, Wahipora, Wanpora, Parigam and Zadoora observed that 80 per cent almond trees have been damaged. In Rajpora and Shopian and upper reaches of Pulwama, snow fury has devoured orchards and almond trees completely.

Gurez and Shopian received major snowfall with highest snowfall recorded at 3.5 foot [42 inches]

According to the details issued by the officials, around 1922 houses were partially and fully damaged in Kashmir division while as the damage to the property in the Jammu division is being assessed.

Government in action has released an amount of Rs 5 crores for Kashmir division and Rs 1.20 crore for Doda, Reasi, Kishtwar and Ramban districts for meeting the urgent exigency.

Meanwhile the Srinagar-Jammu highway which remained closed for two days was opened on Thursday for stranded vehicles. Air traffic was also restored by Wednesday.

Unwell Geelani

Ill-Geelani-flies-to-DelhiWith valley being under snow blanket and snag in internet and cellphone services, the rumours were abuzz that Geelani’s condition has deteriorated. Some even went to the extent that ailing leader is ‘no more’. His party spokesman, however, rubbished the rumours by terming him “fine”.

Earlier as the news of his “deteriorated” health spread, many of his followers visited his residence to inquire about his health. All other leaders dropped at his residence to enquire about his health.

Even authorities lifted the siege placed outside his residence by calling back the personnel, who were outside his residence to ensure his house detention.

Many of his followers sacrificed goats and sheep for improvement in his health. But after showing some improvements, his health condition fell once again as the fresh snowfall in the valley started.

However, his followers were shocked when some people posted on social networking sites that the ailing leader is ‘no more’. With this news, Internet and mobile services was snagged but it was just a coincidence. The services were snagged because of “technical fault” and Geelani was unwell but he is alive.

Soon Hurriyat Conference (G) threatened to reveal the names of ‘rumour mongers’ who spread the news of Geelani’s demise.

But as the weather improved in Kashmir, the 85-year-old leader was shifted to New Delhi for his specialized treatment. Earlier, he refused government chopper.

In Delhi, Geelani underwent treatment at Medanta hospital and his party continues to ask people to pray for his recovery.

Motion Decoded

Three days after heavy snowfall brought normal life to a grinding halt in Kashmir, National Conference’s Ali Muhammad Sagar refuted the allegations of PDP that Government was buried under 8 inches of snow.

He said that his movement and that of others were restricted because of the Model Code of Conduct that is in vogue in Jammu and Kashmir. “We can’t help people and provide relief to them. We can’t use State Machinery to take people out of trouble as you know our movement is restricted by Election Commission,” Sagar said, adding that despite this the government is doing its best to relieve people from the miseries.

Sagar castigated PDP for criticising the government and said that all the ruling Ministers and legislators are in touch with the people while administration at district levels are working hard to clear roads and restore electricity in every party of the Valley.

“I admit that people faced a lot of inconvenience because of the heavy snowfall. But, we did our best and utilized all our resources to take people out of trouble,” he said.

He admitted that certain parts of South Kashmir including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian are without electricity supply and locals especially opposition party complained about the absence of administration to deal with their problems.

“This is not true. I along with Sajad Kitchloo are in touch with administration and people and we have used at least 43 fire tenders to drain out the water from the roads and lanes,” he said. “All the departments including Power Development Department and R&B are working day in and day out to overcome the difficulties that people are facing.”

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