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Land-slides, fresh snowfall block NH, Doda-Kishtwar road

All flights to Srinagar cancelled

Gopal Sharma

Braving heavy rain, two men with umbrellas moving through a road in Jammu on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Braving heavy rain, two men with umbrellas moving through a road in Jammu on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

JAMMU, Jan 25: Heavy rain across the region for the last two days has thrown normal life out of gear while fresh snowfall at many places and landslides in Ramban, Banihal and Doda areas , has resulted into closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and Jammu-Batote-Doda-Kishtwar road for the second consecutive day today.
Due to inclement weather and snowfall in Kashmir no flight from Jammu airport could be operated for Srinagar today while Helicopter service from Katra base camp to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine also remained suspended throughout the day. The pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine, however, continued despite rain and light snowfall at higher reaches of Trikuta Hills of Mata Vaishnodevi.
During the broad day today, a night like scene was witnessed in Jammu city after thick black clouds hovered over the city of temples, followed by heavy rain. The vehicles with full head lights on, were seen plying on the city roads. It continued for several hours. The attendance in the offices and schools- colleges was also thin today and most of the people preferred to stay inside their houses as the heavy rain and cold wave restricted their movement.
IGP Traffic, S A Watali told the Excelsior that Jammu-Srinagar National Highway continued to remain closed after Tuesday afternoon. He said continuous rain since yesterday has resulted into massive land slides in Ramban and Banihal areas, forcing closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Watali said the land slides took place at Hingni, Seri, Nachlana, Mehar, Shalgarhi, Panthial and Battery Chashma area between Ramban-Ramsu and Banihal. The fresh snowfall over night at Jawahar Tunnel and Patnitop also blocked the highway.
Watali said, ” On Tuesday we cleared about 3000 stranded vehicles including all the passenger vehicles and even the Jammu bound goods carriers stopped across Tunnel. But after fresh snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel and land slides at many places, the highway was closed. At present there are about 200 to 300 Jammu bound vehicles at Lower Munda or Qazigund. All the stranded vehicles between Banihal and Udhampur have been cleared, ” Watali maintained.
The IGP (T) further disclosed that today from Jammu or Udhampur side no movement of vehicles was allowed for Kashmir, Doda, Ramban, Bhaderwah or Kishtwar. From Kashmir side also, movement of vehicles has been stalled. In Patnitop area, the road is slippery after fresh snowfall and the movement was restricted. There is no scope of road clearance by tomorrow morning as well. He disclosed that at present nearly 4000 Kashmir bound vehicles mostly load carriers have been stranded at Nagrota Bypass in Jammu, Udhampur-Dhar Road and Manwal besides , Dyala Chak-Chhallan Road. The weatherman has predicted heavy rain even tomorrow and highway is likely to remain closed tomorrow, Watali added.
A senior Police officer from Jammu Airport said that all the flights between Jammu-Delhi operated normally but all the flights to Srinagar and from Srinagar to Jammu were cancelled due to inclement weather and snowfall in Kashmir. He said the chopper service at Katra Mata Vaishnodevi also remained suspended.
A MeT spokesman said that Jammu recorded a maximum temperature of 15.2 degree Celsius and minimum 12.8 degree C today. The Holy town of Katra recorded maximum 14.8 degree C and minimum 9.9 degree C temperature; Bhaderwah maximum 3.3 degree C and minimum 1.2 degree C; Batote maximum 5.2 degree C and minimum 3.4 degree C , whereas Banihal town recorded maximum 2.6 degree C and minimum 0.7 degree C temperature.
He further disclosed that Jammu experienced 24.0 mm rainfall, Srinagar 9.8 mm, Pahalgam, 37.4 mm and Gulmarg 32.2 mm rainfall till 5 pm today. Bhaderwah and Patnitop witnessed 2 to 4 inch snowfall by this evening. Jawahar Tunnel area witnessed 12 to 14 inch snowfall and it was still snowing in these areas. The weatherman has predicted moderate to heavy rain with fresh snowfall at isolated places across the region in next 24 hours. He said the weather will improve after January 27.
Meanwhile, reports from Doda-Bhaderwah and Kishtwar said that most of the link roads were closed due to land slides at many places while Doda-Bhaderwah road was operational till this afternoon. Dudu-Basantgarh and Majori in Udhampur; Mahore-Gool and Mahore- Gulabgarh and Mahore- Budhal roads in Reasi were also closed due to landslides and fresh snowfall at the higher reaches. Bani-Loang- Sarthal and Machhedi roads in district Kathua have also blocked. The power supply to many areas of this belt has been snapped.
Reports from Poonch and Rajouri revealed that fresh snowfall has taken place at the higher reaches since last night and Mandi-Loran and Mandi- Saujian besides Thannamandi-Deragali-Bafliaz roads have been closed. In Deragali area there was heavy snow and this pass has remained blocked for the last about two weeks now. Reports also revealed that power supply to many areas has been badly hit due to continuous rain and snowfall since yesterday.
A police spokesman said that due to rain, the Kucha house of one Mohd Qadeer, son of Mohd Sharief was collapsed at village Kattarmal in Manjakote tehsil of district Rajouri today. Two women in the house were injured and were removed to district hospital, Rajouri. They are identified as Wazira Begum -55 yrs, wife of Mohd Sharief and Shamim Akhtar (35), wife of Mohd Kadeer.
Another house of one Sewa Ram, son of Puran Chand, resident of Gangna Tagood in Kishtwar was collapsed due to heavy rain today. No loss of human life or injury to any family member was reported.

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