*Kashmir under grip of severe cold wave
JAMMU, Jan 13: Around 25000 trucks have been stranded on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Jammu region as the NH remained closed today due to continuous shooting stone activity at Mehar area of Ramban while Kashmir region continued to be under the grip of severe cold wave as mercury settled several notches below the freezing point across the Valley.
SSP Traffic National Highway Shabir Malik told Excelsior that as per the traffic advisory issued yesterday, the NH remained closed today for both Jammu and Srinagar. He, however, disclosed that around 300 Kashmir bound trucks were cleared early in the morning when there was let up in the shooting stones for around 2-3 hours.
“Shooting stone incidents are continuously occurring at Mehar, just 2 kilometres from Ramban. Due to closure of the highway, around 25000 trucks have been stranded in Jammu region between Mansar (Samba) to Jakheni (Udhampur),” the SSP said, adding, some Light Motor Vehicles were cleared today through Maitra route.
He said subject to fair weather and better road condition, only LMVs (Passengers) shall be allowed tomorrow from Srinagar towards Jammu (strictly one way) via Maitra route. “These vehicles shall be allowed from Navyug Tunnel (Qazigund side) from 1100 hours to 1400 hours (subject to change depending on the road position then). No traffic is possible via Mehar because of continuous shooting stones at Slide point. Bus/Mini Bus/Tempo Traveler etc. will not be allowed as capacity of a bridge on Maitra road does not support these vehicles. Action under Rule shall be taken against those who will violate the advisory,” he added.
“Mughal Road, Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri Road and Kishtwar-Sinthan Road also remained closed for vehicular movement in view of snow accumulation,” the SSP said and advised the public to undertake journey on NHW-44 only after confirming status of the road from Traffic control units.
Meanwhile, the intense cold wave conditions continued today in Kashmir. Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in Baramulla district, recorded a low of -11.0 degrees Celsius, marking the minimum temperature at or below -10 degrees Celsius for five consecutive nights, the weatherman said, adding, Pahalgam in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded a low of -9.4 degrees Celsius.
“Srinagar, the summer capital of J&K, also recorded sub zero temperature on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday as mercury settled at -2.7 degrees Celsius,” they said and added that Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley, recorded a minimum of -5.8 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of -6.3 degrees Celsius and Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of -2.5 degrees Celsius.
Jammu recorded minimum temperature of 5.5 degree Celsius, Banihal -1.0 degree Celsius, Batote -0.2 degree Celsius, Katra 5.5 degree Celsius and Bhaderwah -1.1 degree Celsius. The weatherman has predicted that the weather will remain dry for the next three days in both regions of J&K but there may be rainfall in scattered areas of Kashmir and isolated areas of Jammu region on 17th January.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’, which began on December 21. It is a period when cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies as well as the water supply lines. The ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ will end on January 31, but the cold wave continues with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).