5000 vehicles stranded, NH blocked on Day 4
Gopal Sharma / Fayaz Bukhari
JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Jan 15: Over 5000 vehicles have been stranded as Jammu-Srinagar National Highway continued to remain blocked for the fourth consecutive day today while all the flights were cancelled at Srinagar Airport due to fresh snowfall in Kashmir whereas, fog disrupted the flight operation at Jammu Airport.
The bad weather conditions continued across Kashmir for the fourth consecutive day disrupting the normal life in Valley, with all flights from Srinagar Airport were cancelled today.
Kashmir was lashed by fresh spell of snow today, resulting in slippery conditions on roads in Srinagar and other places.
The heavy snowfall in northern Kashmir districts for past few days triggered snow avalanches, leaving 13 persons including 7 security force personnel and six civilians dead. Several people were rescued in North Kashmir.
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A Meterological Department official said that they are expecting an improvement in the prevalent weather conditions from this evening.
“The light snowfall would occur in higher reaches on January 17-18,” he said, adding that the upcoming system as per the prediction was not too heavy.
“There would be Sunshine from January 19. The weather would remain cloudy on January 16,” the official said.
The rain and light snowfall even continued today in the hilly areas of Ramban, Poonch and Doda while in plain areas of Jammu, the sky was overcast with clouds during evening. But it was good sunny day in Jammu area during morning hours and noon.
Official sources said that between Ramban and Banihal sector, the NHAI was cleared of landslides at five places during morning hours and about 40 stranded LMVs were also allowed to move towards Banihal but fresh land slides at Tanarhi near Chanderkote created massive road blockade. Till this evening, the machines were busy in road clearance work there. But due to rain in the area, the highway was again blocked at Mompassi and Digdol areas. The shooting stones at Panthial also posed threat to the movement of vehicles, resulting in continued blockade of highway.
A senior Traffic Police official said that snow could not be cleared fully in Jawahar Tunnel area. It was even snowing today. There was danger of avalanche near Tunnel and due to slippery road conditions and avalanche warning, the road could not be cleared for traffic.
He said no movement of vehicles from Jammu, Udhampur or Srinagar-Qazigund side was allowed. He claimed over 5000 vehicles including nearly 1500 trucks on Kashmir side were stranded at various places along the highway. Due to blockade of highway, shortage of fuel, vegetables and other essentials, has been reported from various parts of Kashmir valley.
Meanwhile, traffic on Pul-Doda-Bhaderwah road was restored today but many link roads in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts were still blocked due to land slides and non-clearance of snow. The water supply in Bhaderwah town has also been affected. The power supply was however, restored there yesterday.
Latti-Dudu-Basantgarh road of Udhampur was still blocked besides Mandi-Loran, Sawjian roads of Poonch. Traffic could not be restored even on Surankote-Bufliaz-Dera-Gali-Thannamandi-Rajouri Road. However, Rajouri-Budhal-Chassana-Mahore road was restored today.
Official sources said that all the flights from Srinagar Airport were cancelled today due to snowfall in Srinagar. The air traffic was partly resumed yesterday. Around 27 flights were cancelled today due to continuous snowfall in Srinagar.
A group of Malyasian tourists whose flight was cancelled today managed to make a video call to their family after five days in Kashmir. There were emotional scenes at media facilitation centre when they made a call to their family after 5 days.
The group of eight were supposed to fly out to New Delhi today but got stuck in Srinagar because all scheduled flights were cancelled for the day due to heavy snowfall. The moment the tourists made a WhatsApp video call, they turned emotional as they saw the faces of their family members for the first time since January 11.
Yousinda, one of the Malaysian tourists, said she had never experienced an internet shutdown in her life. “It is like we are in a big jail. We had no idea what was going on in the outside world. Even though we had called our family, but we were desperate to see their faces,” she said.
A senior officer at Jammu Airport said that due to fog and non-operation of flights at Srinagar airport, four flights including two of Spicejet, one each Vistara and GoAir at Jammu airport were cancelled. He said one GoAir flight was diverted while five flights were delayed. He said during morning hours, Spicejet flight was delayed by 3.37 hrs, Indigo by 2.13 hrs and another Spicejet flight by 1.40 hrs and Indigo by 45 minutes.
The chopper service at Katra Mata Vaishnodevi operated during morning and noon time but its operation was later suspended due to bad weather. However, the on-foot pilgrimage remained smooth along both the tracks today.
Heavy rush of tourists was witnessed at Kud, Patnitop and Nathatop today as these places have experienced about one ft to 1.5 ft snowfall. For the last two days heavy rush has been witnessed there. Massive traffic jams were also created at Kud and Patnitop and police and traffic police officials had tough time to regulate the traffic.
A MeT spokesman said that Jammu recorded a maximum temperature of 16.0 degree Celsius and minimum 6.5 deg C, tourist resort of Bhaderwah maximum 5.0 deg C and minimum minus 0.3 deg C, Katra 12.7 deg C and minimum 7.2 deg C, Batote maximum 6.8 deg C and minimum minus 0.5 deg C while Banihal town had maximum 6.2 deg C and minimum 0.2 deg C temperature today. He has predicted light rain and snowfall across the region in next 24 hours.
The continuous snowfall has submerged many areas in Srinagar, causing hardships to the people. The residents in Srinagar have been demanding dewatering of their areas.
Even the building of Directorate of Information in Srinagar was submerged in water and hundreds of media persons who visit the Directorate daily had to wade through 2 feet water to reach the media centre where internet facility has been provided for them.
“It is very difficult to get inside the building. We have to park our vehicles outside the compound and wade through water daily. Government has failed to de-water Directorate office for last several days”, said a journalist.
In wake of the fresh snowfall in Kashmir, authorities in Kashmir University (KU) postponed all the examinations scheduled to be held on January 16 to 18.
All Kashmir University examinations scheduled to be held on Jan 16 to 18, 2020 are hereby postponed. “The fresh dates for the postponed examinations shall be notified separately”, the official said.
5000 vehicles stranded, NH blocked on Day 4