2 villagers trapped in Ujh flood; Mahore-Reasi, other roads blocked

Gopal Sharma

A horse-cart driver with two villagers braving rain while moving towards Jammu city on Tuesday.             —Excelsior/Rakesh
A horse-cart driver with two villagers braving rain while moving towards Jammu city on Tuesday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

JAMMU, Sept 22: Heavy rainfall since last night paralysed the normal life across the State, causing floods in rivers and nullahs, land-slides and blockade of several roads while temperature has witnessed sharp fall of nearly 8 degree Celsius in Jammu in just two days.
Two villagers including a Medical employee were trapped in the flooded river Ujh in Billawar area of Kathua while helicopter service to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine from Katra base camp remained affected throughout the day today. Shrine Board authorities also closed new yatra track after minor landslides this evening while the pilgrimage was smooth on the old route.
Traffic movement on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway also got disrupted several hours near between Ramban and Banihal at 2-3 places and also at Kheri near Udhampur today but highway by and large remained through. At Panthial and Seri near Ramban, shooting stones and landslides disrupted movement of traffic this afternoon for several hours, however, the highway was cleared after men and machinery of NH authorities were pressed into service. Mud-slides were also witnessed at Kheri sliding zone near Udhampur but they were also cleared gradually by the bulldozers deployed there.
Reports from Kathua said that two villagers namely Anil Kumar and Manzoor Ahmed hailing from Billawar area got trapped in flooded river Ujh near a village, just upstream the  bridge near Mandli. The police and locals of the area reached there and strived to rescue them but due to continued rain they could be evacuated them to the safer place.  SDRF team from Jammu was also sent there but till the last reports came in, the hapless villagers were still trapped since 1.30 pm. Even the SDM, Tehsildar and SHO Billawar visited there and the families of the trapped villagers pleaded to save their lives but they remained helpless. Army help was also sought to rescue them in the evening.  The Tehsil Administration said that they had approached DC and Divisional Commissioner for evacuating them through AIF helicopter but it could not happen.
SHO Billawar S S Slathia said that water level has not receded in Ujh and both were about 150 mts away in the middle of the river trapped at dry bed. All possible efforts were done but teams failed to reach them. Flow of water was also fast there. He said in the morning again the operation will be launched.
Meanwhile, life in Kashmir valley was affected as heavy rains lashed the region tdoay while the downpour also hampered Eid shopping.
The rains in the region started last night and continued heavily throughout the day. The incessant dipped the temperature in the region. Reports said there was light snowfall in higher reaches of the Valley including in Gulmarg. The weatherman meanwhile predicted light rain and thundershowers in Kashmir region for next 24 hours.
Due to downpour, the life was partially affected while the shopping ahead of Eid-ul-Adha, which began yesterday, got also hampered. The shops in city here recorded very less rush of shoppers as compared to yesterday.
The majority of residents preferred not go out for shopping as rains had caused water-logging at multiple places including in city centre. However, the Government installed pumps in Lal Chowk eased the water-logging even as the incessant rains continued throughout the day.
The residential colonies in the uptown and city outskirts also got water-logged in absence of proper drainage system.
The downpour caused heavy traffic jams in various parts of the city including in busy Lal Chowk, Radio Kashmir Crossing, Batamaloo, Jahangir Chowk and Magarmal Bagh. The traffic jam continued till evening and commuters faced lot of difficulties in reaching to their destinations amidst incessant rains.
Due to rains, the Srinagar-Leh Highway was closed for the traffic and the vehicles coming from Kargil were not allowed today.
Chief Scientist, Dr Meenakshi from Meteorological Department of SKAUST Jammu said that with heavy rain during past 24 hours, Jammu has witnessed sharp fall in temperature. She said Jammu’s maximum temperature was 23.4 degree C which is nearly 8 degree below normal which is 32.5 degree C. She disclosed that Jammu experienced  nearly 70 mm rainfall in last 24 hours and rain will be continued tomorrow as well. The weather will improve from tomorrow afternoon. She said the minimum temperature  in Jammu was 20.5 degree C today while normal is 20.4 degree C. So there is not much difference. On Sunday, the maximum temperature in Jammu was 33.7 degree C and there is lot of difference in last two days. She claimed that it was the last rain of monsoon season.
Reports from Reasi said that Reasi-Mahore road has been blocked at Daman and Karud Nullah due to fresh landslides while Mahore and Sungri-Chassana road was also closed due to landslides near Panjar Nullah. Several link roads in Doda, Rajouri, Ramnagar and Dudu-Basantgarh and upper reaches of Kathua have been closed due to rain and landslides.


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