NH closed, many flights cancelled; one dies as boulder falls on car, Vaishnodevi yatra suspended

A view of snow clad Shopian town in Kashmir. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
A view of snow clad Shopian town in Kashmir. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Heavy rain, snowfall paralyse life across J&K, Ladakh

Gopal Sharma/
Fayaz Bukhari

JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Jan 5: Many flights were cancelled due to bad weather and accumulation of snow at Srinagar airport, while Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was closed after landslides and death of a passenger due to shooting stone in Ramban sector, whereas, heavy rain and snowfall on the second consecutive day continued to wreak havoc across J&K and Ladakh.

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After landslide on the Yatra track, between Katra and Bhawan, the pilgrimage to Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine was suspended this evening while helicopter service was disrupted throughout the day today from base camp Katra to Bhawan. Some pilgrims had narrow escape in the incident.
One person hailing from Bemina area of Srinagar was killed while another injured as a boulder fell on a car near Jaswal bridge in Ramban area today.
SSP Traffic, National Highway, Shabir Ahmed Malik told the Excelsior that at around 12.45 pm today, when it was raining in Ramban sector, a boulder from the hillock fell on a car No. JK-1AB/4050 resulting into on the spot death of a person. Another one was injured and shifted to District Hospital, Ramban. The deceased was identified as Adil Bashir, son of Bashir Ahmed Reshi, resident of Gursa Colony, Bemina in Srinagar.
Malik further said that after this incident, the movement of passenger vehicles on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was suspended. After landslides near Cafeteria Morh in Ramban and Chanderkote besides shooting stones and falling of boulders at several places between Nashri and Banihal, the highway in Ramban sector was blocked. Due to heavy snowfall in Jawahar Tunnel area and slippery road conditions, the traffic between Banihal and Kashmir has been diverted to the new tunnel, he added.
With the highway blockade, a large number of vehicles have been stranded at many places including Udhampur, Dhar Road, Nagrota, Kud, Chenani, Banihal and Qazigund. Batote-Doda-Kishtwar highway, was however, operational till late this evening.
The inclement weather conditions in Kashmir for the second day today has resulted in cancellation of 37 scheduled flights.
The snowfall in Kashmir continued for the second consecutive day today with the Valley receiving light snowfall and hills heavy.
Sonamarg received 2 feet of snow, Baltal 2.5 feet, Zojila 3 feet, Gund 1.2 feet, Z-Gali, Machil, Razdan two to four feet of snow, Tulail and Dawar 2 feet and 4 feet, Bandipora 3 inches, Tangmarg 8 inches to one feet, Gulmarg two feet, Pattan 3-4 inches, Ganderbal 1-2 inches, Srinagar one inch, Budgam one inch, Pulwama 2 inches, Anantnag one inch, Pahalgam one feet, Shopian 6 inches, Heerpora one to two feet, Kulgam 2 inch, Kulgam 3- 10 inches, Kupwara 5-6 inches, Lolab 6 inches, Handwara 4-5 inches and Baramulla and Sopore 3-5 inches.
The Meteorological department today said that there is a possibility of heavy snowfall and rainfall in J&K on January 7 and January 8.
Director Srinagar Airport, Kuldeep Singh, told Excelsior that 42 flights were scheduled today at Srinagar International Airport, adding that 37 out of 42 got cancelled due to the poor visibility. The cancelled flights include one international flight as well. However, he said that five flights were operated today.
Director, Airport Authority, Jammu, SK Garg said that four Srinagar and Leh bound flights were cancelled today due to bad weather in Kashmir and Ladakh and accumulation of snow on the airfield. He said with the improvement in weather at Srinagar airport some flights however, operated later during the day. Flights reaching from the other destinations to Jammu, operated normally, Garg added.

Gandoh town of district Doda experiences season’s first snowfall on Wednesday.        —Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary
Gandoh town of district Doda experiences season’s first snowfall on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary

Reports from Doda and Kishtwar said that fresh snowfall was experienced in the areas of Gandoh, Kahara, Thathri, Bhaderwah, Dessa, Marmar, Paddar, Chhatroo, Sinthon Top, Marwa- Daccan area. Heavy snowfall has also been reported from Natha Top, Dudu, Seoj Dhar, Gool, Mahu Mangat and Pogal Paristan area of Ramban, Udhampur and Reasi, besides Sarthal and Chhatergall area of Bani Sub Division in Kathua. The power supply in many areas of these hilly districts and sub divisions has been snapped and people living in these pockets are suffering during these harsh winter days.
In the areas like Kahara, Chilly, Jakyas, Bunjwah, Kither, Patnazi, Chinta and Changa surrounding Gandoh and Bhaderwah received first snowfall of the season. Most of the mountains of the district are witnessing heavy snowfall.
The cold wave conditions forced people to remain indoors and light up bonfires and wear warm clothes in this cold weather.
The snowfall on higher reaches led to a sudden drop in temperature and forcing people to wear warm clothes and lit fire to protect themselves from chilly weather. Most of the roads have turned slippery. The people have been advised by the District Administration to stay indoors and safe.
Several reports have been received from Rajouri, Reasi and Udhampur about house collapse incidents since last night. A Kucha house of one Suraj Ram, son of Roop Chand, resident of Manjakote in Mahore collapsed today. However, no loss of human life has been reported. Two cattle were said to have buried alive under the structure.
Another house of one Mohd Sharief, son of Wali Mohd, resident of Pangai, in Thanamandi (Rajouri) collapsed today due to rain. However, family members escaped to safety. Due to land slides and apprehension of further damage, an Ayurvedic Dispensary was shifted to safer place at Thanamandi today. SDM Vikas Dhar, Tehsildar Sahil A Shah and SDPO visited the site and cleared the area suspecting further damage due to landslide. Several more reports of partial house collapse have been received but no loss of life reported.
Reports from Poonch said that Mandi-Loran and Mandi-Sawjian roads have been closed due to heavy snowfall. The power supply to many villages of Mandi, Surankote and Mendhar tehsils have been snapped. Similar reports were received from Budhal, Khawas, Kandi, Darhal and Thanna area of Rajouri district. Reasi-Mahore, Mahore-Gulabgarh and Mahore- Gool roads have also been closed due to landslides and snowfall at several places.
Entire Jammu continued to be under the grip of cold wave. It was raining continuously since last night and normal life has been completely paralysed. Water logging at many places in Jammu city affected normal flow of traffic while majority of the people preferred to stay indoors. There has been further drop in temperature due to snowfall in the hilly areas of the region including Natha Top, Sanasar, Patnitop and Dudu-Basantgarh, besides hills of Poonch, Rajouiri, Reasi and Kathua.
Reports said at least 500 Heavy Motor Vehicles are stranded along the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Kashmir, which has been closed for vehicular movement after mudslides and shooting stones in Ramban.
Several roads including Mughal Road, Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri and KIshtwar-Sinthan Road continued to remain closed for vehicular movement as a precautionary measure following the slippery conditions of the roads, triggered by the fresh snowfall.
The commuters scheduled to travel on the highway have been appealed to confirm the status of the road before undertaking the journey.
Traffic Police Jammu has, meanwhile, advised people especially having Light Motor Vehicles not to move on highway between Srinagar and Jammu.
It has also been informed that no Kashmir bound vehicle shall be allowed to move ahead of Nagrota till further clearance.
As the snowfall closed the roads in hills, two pregnant women, in two separate incidents in north Kashmir, undergoing labour pain were carried on cot to the hospitals. One of the pregnant woman delivered a baby midway in Bandipora.
A family from Pannar, a remote village of Bandipora district carried the pregnant woman on a cot as the snow which accumulated on the road was not cleared by the administration. “We had already contacted the hospital authorities in this regard but they did not do anything due to road closure,” a family member said.
In Hillan Phalipora area of Boniyar in Baramulla district a pregnant woman was carried on a cot while it was snowing on the way.
BMO Boniyar, Dr Parvaiz Masood said that the delivery date given to the patient was January 9 and she had no need to visit the hospital early. “Her relatives had brought her a little early and we have kept her under medical observation in our hospital,” he said.
Meanwhile, due to inclement weather conditions, all UG/PG/Professional/B.Ed (External POT) exams of Kashmir University  scheduled on January 6 and 7 have been postponed.
Fresh dates for postponed papers will be notified separately, Prof Irshad Ahmad Nawchoo, Controller of Examinations said in a statement.