Jammu & Kashmir

Early winter snow wrecks havoc: Orchards destroyed, electricity gone, travellers stranded, highways closed

Representative Photo.

Srinagar: With the valley witnessing early winter snowfall in the month of November for the first time since 20o0, unprecedented power outages plunged the Kashmir Valley into darkness.

With authorities on Sunday blaming Saturday’s heavy snowfall for the disruption, Chief engineer electric maintenance Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi has 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,” Qazi said.

He added that the entire manpower of the power development department is working on restoration of the transmission lines and grid stations.

More than two-thousand apple trucks have been standing near Qazigund for the past three to four days.

Reports of damage to apple orchards came from areas such as Kandi, Abhama in Pulwama district, and Keller area of Shopian district.

Orchardists in these areas said that apples have fallen from trees due to the snow and both fruits and trees have suffered damage. Branches of fruit of trees were severely damaged because the trees are pruned before snowfall in winters, since the fruit was still on the trees, pruning was yet to be done.

Air and surface links between the Valley to the neighbouring regions also remained suspended.

Poor visibility forced suspension of all flights from the Srinagar airport since Saturday afternoon while heavy snowfall in the Jawahar Tunnel area closed the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Snowfall has also closed the Srinagar-Leh highway and the Mughal Road that connect the valley with the Ladakh region and the Rajouri district of the Jammu division respectively.

Inter district traffic was also affected as snow accumulation on the roads caused slippery conditions.

Authorities also said nearly 500 people were rescued who had been stranded indue to heavy snowfall in Peer Ki Gali on the Mughal Road and the Jawahar Tunnel area of Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Over 300 passengers, including dozens of armed forces personnel, were rescued Saturday night after they were stranded due to heavy snowfall near the Jawahar tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, police said.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Ramban) Anita Sharma said the 270-km highway, was closed for traffic after heavy snowfall and multiple landslides rendered it unsafe.

The strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway reopened for one-way traffic on Sunday after remaining closed due to snowfall and rains.


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