Life in Kashmir comes to standstill after heavy snowfall, highways closed, airfares skyrocket
Srinagar: Normal life on Thursday came to a standstill in Kashmir after the snowfall continued since last evening across the Valley, thus forcing the continuous closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway as well as the air traffic to and from Srinagar.
The Valley received fresh snowfall from Wednesday evening and continued in the night, bringing chill back to the Valley. The temperature had increased from last couple of days following the improvement in weather conditions but the fresh snowfall in the Valley led to the dip in the temperature here.
The weatherman has predicted continuous snowfall till Friday afternoon, saying that the weather across the Valley would improve from Friday afternoon.
Director Meteorological department, Sonum Lotus said that the moderate snowfall was experienced in most parts of the Valley since Wednesday evening.
“The higher reaches of the Valley including Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Pir Panchal, Sonamarg and others received moderate to heavy snowfall since last night,” he said.
However, several inches of snow was seen accumulated on the roads in Srinagar and others districts as no road clearance work was executed by the concerned authorities, thus causing immense hardships to the commuters as well as pedestrians.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan said that the situation is under control while as men and machinery has already been pressed to clear the snow and ensure every basic facility to the people of Kashmir.
The road clearance work has already been started but at some places, the heavy snowfall is occurring, therefore halting the work, he said, adding that all the roads will be cleared shortly and other facilities will be provided to the people soon.
“I am personally monitoring the situation and am reviewing it after every hour,” he said, adding that the priority is to ensure proper and adequate facilities to the people. “We are working since this morning. Electricity and other facilities will be restored soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, two incidents of snow avalanches were reported from areas of Ramban district today.
Reports quoting officials said that a snow avalanche hit Mahoo village of Ramban district in which six houses came under avalanche. However, all the civilians and their livestock were already shifted from the area following predictions of snowfall.
In another similar incident at Mangat village, a snow avalanche hit three houses in which fifteen animals including ten goats and sheep are buried under snow. However, no loss of human life has taken place in both these incidents.
The Srinagar-Jammu highway continued to remain closed for the second straight day today.
Officials said that the landslides occurred in Ramsoo-Ramban sector triggered by the fresh snowfall while as the continuous snowfall in Banihal led to the continuous closure of highway.
Notably, the frequent snowfalls, avalanche and shooting stones had led to the frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway since January 01 this year, causing hardships to the commuters who were travelling on the either sides of the roads.
Meanwhile, air traffic was also suspended today by the authorities following the prevailing weather conditions and poor visibility.
The officials in Srinagar Airport said that at least 25 flights to and form were suspended on Wednesday while as the poor visibility continued for today, thereby led to the suspension of all the flights scheduled for today.
Srinagar Airport on its official twitter handle also informed the suspension of all the flights for today, saying that “due to bad weather and heavy snowfall at Srinagar Airport all flights are cancelled for today.”
(With inputs from KNS)