Highways Remain Shut, Air Traffic Partially Resumed
The normal life was thrown life out of gear here due to moderate to heavy snowfall since overnight in Kashmir Valley. The Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the Mughal Road, the Srinagar-Leh thoroughfare and mountain passes leading to Gurez and Tangdhar remained closed while air traffic and rail services were disrupted.
The people across the Valley woke up to the thick layer of snow, ranging from 2 inches to more than two feet.
The snowfall began in the late afternoon on Friday and continued in most parts of the valley throughout the night. As per officials, it was one of the heaviest snowfalls in recent years in the plains of Kashmir.
A senior R&B official told GNS that Srinagar record 8 inches, Fakir Gojri 12 inches, Budgam 11 inches, Khansaheb 18 inches, Ganderbal Town 11 inches,, Babanagri- Wangath 24 inches, Sumbal – Ganiwan 24 inches, Kulan – Rezan 18 inches, Anantnag Town 2 inches, Pahalgam-Aru 12 inches, Dooru 6 inches, Verinag 7 inches, Kulgam to Qazigund 6 inches, Qazigund-Kund 11 inches, , Shopian 6 inches , Shopian-Sadew 12 inches, Shopian-Herpora 12 inches, , Pulwama Town 4 inches, Pulwama-Shopian road 5 inches, Pulwama-Gallander- Khrew 8 inches , Baramulla 11 inches, Gulmarg 12-26 inches, Tangmarg 18 inches, Gulmarg-Tangmarg Road 8-14 inches, Bandipora Town 6 inches, , Bandipora upper reaches 12 inches, Gurez 12 inches , Kupwara town 12-20 inches, Lolab 6 inches and Handwara 6 inches.
The upper reaches of the Valley received heavy snowfall which has led to the closure of Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the only surface life connecting Kashmir Valley, and other road links, a spokesman of the Traffic Control Room here said.
He said Mughal Road, Srinagar-Leh National Highway and Bandipora-Gurez road were also closed for traffic.
Air traffic to and fro Srinagar airport was partially restored on Saturday after remaining affected for nearly 24 hours due to snowfall, officials said.
While all flights in the morning were canceled due to poor visibility and snow accumulation on the runway, five flights operated late in the afternoon as the weather improved, an airport official said.
The runway was cleared and the visibility improved, resulting in resumption of flight operations after nearly 24 hours, he said.
Five flights could operate on Saturday and three landed at the airport while two were parked at the aerodrome since Friday, the official said.
The snowfall has also disrupted normal life and affected the movement of people and transport in Srinagar city and other districts of the valley.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan said that the essential services disrupted at some places due to the heavy snowfall across the Kashmir were restored within hours as the administration worked round the clock.
He was speaking at a meeting convened to review the restoration of electricity and water supply, snow clearance on roads, Health Services, the supply of essentials commodities, like rice, atta, sugar, K. Oil and LPG and other arrangements put in place in the Kashmir Division including Leh and Kargil districts at a high-level meeting, an official spokesman said here.
All-District Development Commissioners (DDCs) informed that all essential services were restored and there is no shortage of essential commodities in their respective districts.
The DDCs further informed that all the highways and roads of the districts have been cleared by the engineering wings. The roads to Pahalgam and Gulmarg tourist resorts are also open for traffic. Two rescue teams have been already deployed at Waltengo-Naar in case of an eventuality. Alone in Srinagar city, 25 snow clearance machines on the job, the officials informed.
All the health institutions are functioning normally with proper heating arrangements and patients are being attended by the doctors and paramedics besides hassle-free ambulance services in their respective districts. District and departmental control rooms are working 24×7 and their contact numbers have been publicised in media for prompt redressal of public grievances. Regarding National Highway which is clear upto Qazigund and beyond that, adequate Men and Machinery were deployed to clear snow so that valley will be connected to the rest of the country as soon as possible.
The Divisional Commissioner directed BRO Engineers to speed up the pace of snow clearance work and press additional men and machinery on the job so that National Highway, as well as far flung areas of the Valley, will be connected as an earliest.
For mitigation of public problems, all DDCs were directed to use SDRF amount liberally and also send an hourly report of post snowfall scenario in their respective districts to the Divisional Commissioner.
To address inundation problem in low lying areas of the Srinagar city, the divisional commissioner directed SMC to deploy an adequate number of de-watering pumps along with fire and emergency machines immediately besides, drainage department will clear chocked drains immediately so that waterlogging shall not take place during present frost conditions. They have also been directed to hire tractors for snow clearance in lanes and pathways.
SRTC was directed to start bus services on hospital and airport routes immediately so that patients and passengers do not face inconvenience besides RTO Kashmir ensure proper transportation on all routes across the valley immediately.
The Divisional Commissioner stressed upon all concerned departments to be prepared and keep their men and machinery in ready mode to tackle any situation arising due to inclement weather conditions and ensure prompt restoration. They have also been directed to depute one officer at Police Control room for prompt action against any eventuality.