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Avalanche warning in Kashmir, 80 people rescued

NH opens for traffic, air traffic resumes

Fayaz Bukhari

Students walk amid snowfall along Boulevard in Dalgate area of Srinagar on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Shakeel

Students walk amid snowfall along Boulevard in Dalgate area of Srinagar on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Shakeel

SRINAGAR, Jan 18: After heavy snowfall in Kashmir, a medium danger avalanche warning was today issued in the hills of Kashmir and authorities issued weather advisory after forecast of snowfall next week. And the air traffic resumed today partially while Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has been thrown open for one-way traffic from Jammu to Srinagar tomorrow.
Based on the information provided by Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment, authorities issued a medium danger warning for avalanche- prone slopes above an altitude of 2800 metres in Anantnag, Kupwara and Baramulla districts for next 24 hours. People in these areas have been advised not to venture out.
As there is threat of avalanche in snow bound areas Police launched a rescue operation in Waltengoo Nad area of Kulgam and rescued 80 persons including 33 children.
In view of the heavy snowfall and apprehension of snow avalanche in Waltengoo Nad area of Kund Devsar, SSP Kulgam constituted rescue teams that rushed to the spot. After clearing the snow on about 15 Kilometres of road from Qazigund to Waltengoo, the teams reached to Waltengoo Nad.
During the rescue operation, more than 80 persons including 33 children were rescued after strenuous efforts. They were evacuated to Government Middle School Naubugh and arrangements like meals bedding heating were made by district administration.
Two children namely Riyaz Ahmad son of Abdul Rashid Deedad and Naseema daughter of Abdul Rashid Deedad resident of Waltengoo Nad who were suffering from hepatitis have been shifted to hospital for treatment.
Divisional Administration Kashmir today issued a weather advisory according to which Western Disturbance is likely to affect Jammu and Kashmir from January 22 to January 26, 2017.
As per the weather forecast higher reaches of Kashmir, Ladakh and hilly areas of Jammu are likely to receive moderate to heavy snowfall during the period. This may lead to closure of National Highway and disruption of surface and air transport.
The Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir division including Leh and Kargil have been asked to take precautionary measures in their respective districts.
And after improvement in weather, the air traffic resumed partially this afternoon at Srinagar Airport. The Airport Authority of India this morning got the runway cleared of snow and then frost was creating hurdles in making it fit for landing and takeoff of the aero planes. The morning flights were cancelled. However, afternoon flight operation was normal.
The accumulation of fresh snow on rail tracks forced suspension of Baramulla-Banihal rail service today.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Traffic Kashmir, Fayaz Ahmad Lone, told Excelsior that after clearance of stranded vehicles, the highway has been opened for one way traffic from tomorrow.
“Keeping in view the condition of the road as a result of recent heavy rain/snow fall, especially between Udhampur – Ramsoo and Banihal to Levdora (Qazigund) coupled with narrow width of road at certain places, only one way movement of traffic is feasible/advisable on Srinagar-Jammu NHW”, he said.
The SSP said that the movement of traffic shall be allowed from Jammu towards Srinagar side only.
“Under this plan, Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) including convoys of Army, BSF, CRPF (excluding trailers/ multi-axle vehicles) shall be allowed from Nagrota, Jammu from 0700 hours up to 1100 hours and at Udhampur up to 1300 hours only”, he said.
Lone said movement of all types of LMVs/passenger vehicles and oil tankers shall be allowed from Nagrota, Jammu from 0600 hours up to 1300 hours and at Udhampur up to 1430 hours only.
“No movement of vehicles including that of convoys of Army, BSF, CRPF etc. shall be allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu side tomorrow under any circumstances”, he said.
“Strict implementation of the recommendations of the cut off timing shall be ensured for hassle free movement of traffic on National Highway. Strong nakas shall be established at appropriate places for implementation of the directions in letter and spirit. Close co-ordination needs to be made with District Police for better results on ground”, the SSP said.
Transport service between Srinagar and other district headquarters was also disrupted due to slippery roads and accumulation of snow.
Authorities moved out snow clearance machines here and other districts even though road connectivity between rural areas and towns remained suspended.
Srinagar city received around 4 inches of snowfall since last night while Gulmarg and Pahalgam received around one feet and six inches of snow respectively.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar was recorded at minus 2.5 degree Celsius today. The minimum temperature was minus 4 degree Celsius in Pahalgam and minus 9 degree Celsius in Gulmarg. It was minus 13.1 degrees Celsius in Leh which was the coldest town in the state today.
Jammu city had 7.9 degrees Celsius, Katra town 6.5 degree Celsius, Batote minus 1.5 degree Celsius, Banihal minus 2 degree Celsius and Bhaderwah witnessed minus 1.5 degree Celsius as the night’s lowest temperature.
Srinagar recorded a maximum of 4.1 degree Celsius, Qazigund 4.3 degree Celsius, Pahalgam 1.3 degree Celsius, Kokernag 1.6 degree Celsius, Kupwara 4.1 degree Celsius, Gulmarg minus 4.0 degree Celsius, Leh minus 0.2 degree Celsius and Kargil minus 3.8 degree Celsius.
Jammu recorded a maximum of 14.3 degree Celsius, Katra 12.1 degree Celsius, Banihal 5.2 degree Celsius, Batote 4.8 degree Celsius and Bhaderwah 3.4 degree Celsius.

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