NH closed on Day 2, avalanche warning issued; air traffic badly affected

People cover themselves under umbrellas as Srinagar experiences fresh snowfall on Monday. (UNI)
People cover themselves under umbrellas as Srinagar experiences fresh snowfall on Monday. (UNI)

No electricity in many snow bound areas across J&K

Fayaz Bukhari/
Gopal Sharma
SRINAGAR/JAMMU, Jan 4: The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the second consecutive day today even though some stranded vehicles were cleared at Jawahar Tunnel with little improvement in weather, while flight operation at Jammu and Srinagar Airports also remained affected badly.

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Due to closure of National Highway for the second day in view of heavy snowfall, over 5000 vehicles have been stranded in Qazigund, Khanabal area in Kashmir besides Banihal, Ramban, Chenani, Nashri-Chanderkote, Kud, Udhampur Bypass, Nagrota Bypass near Jammu and Dhar Road in Jammu region. As the weather improved around 2.30 pm some stranded vehicles were cleared for Kashmir but again hardly after two hours, the road was closed due to bad weather slippery road condition in Jawahar Tunnel axis.
IG Traffic, J&K, T Namgyal told the ‘Excelsior’ that during afternoon, the weather improved and single passage was created in Jawahar Tunnel area of Pir Panchal. About 900 vehicles were cleared for Kashmir including most of them carrying essential commodities. Some LMVs for Jammu side were also cleared but again the road turned slippery and rain started. The highway was again closed at around 5 pm.
Namgyal further said that only stranded vehicles in Banihal and Ramban areas were cleared and no movement of vehicles from Jammu, Udhampur or Kashmir side was allowed. Since the MeT office has predicted rain and snowfall tonight and tomorrow, the highway is unlikely to be opened tomorrow. He has advised road users to start journey from Kashmir and Jammu side only after seeking clearance from respective Traffic Control Rooms.
The J&K Disaster Management Authority today issued medium and low levels avalanche warning for upper reaches of avalanche prone areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
Medium level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Jawahar Tunnel, Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara and Tanghdar.
Similarly, low level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Gulmarg, Gurez, Kanzalwan, and Sonamarg. The people living in these avalanche prone areas are advised not to venture out to avoid loss of lives.
Intermittent snowfall continued in Kashmir for the second day today throwing life out of gear by disrupting surface and air traffic, snapping electric supply with Weatherman forecasting heavy snowfall at scattered places across the Valley till Wednesday.
Srinagar, Gulmarg, and other tourist destinations experienced fresh snowfall today, bringing the temperature further down.
Director Meteorological department (MeT), Sonum Lotus said that the prevailing weather conditions would continue till January 6 across J&K and Ladakh. He added that as predicted, most parts of the Valley received moderate snowfall since this morning.
He said that there is a forecast of heavy to very heavy snowfall at scattered places till Wednesday, adding that the weather conditions would start improving on Wednesday afternoon.
MeT department said that Srinagar recorded 13.4 cm snowfall till 08:00AM in the morning while Qazigund received snowfall of 51.7cms, adding that Pahalgam, Kupwara, Kokernag and Gulmarg received 21.0 cm, 3.5 cm, 32 cm and 3.8 cm snowfall respectively till 8 AM today. He said from 8:00AM till 5:00 PM, Qazigund and Gulmarg received 0.8 cm and 1.5cm snowfall, respectively.
The officials said South Kashmir’s Kulgam district received highest snowfall with two to three feet of snow accumulated at some places. Anantnag district has also received heavy snowfall between one foot and two feet.
The flight operations to and from Srinagar remained suspended for second consecutive day due to poor visibility and freak weather.
At Jammu airport six flights, including two Air India and two SpiceJet were cancelled due to bad weather and poor visibility. The chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine from base camp Katra also remained suspended for most of the day, due to bad weather.
The minimum temperature in Valley though improved in most places due to snowfall, but still stayed below the freezing point.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.9 degrees Celsius — up from the previous night’s minus 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature in Gulmarg tourist resort remained unchanged at minus 5 degrees Celsius on Sunday night compared to a night earlier.
Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 6.7 degrees Celsius – plunging from minus 1.45 degrees Celsius on the previous night.
Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius, Kupwara, in the north, minus 0.3 degrees Celsius and Kokernag, minus 1.4 degrees Celsius.
Drass was coldest place in the region where temperature settled at minus 15.0 degree Celsius.
Meanwhile, the melting of snow inundated the roads, lanes and bylanes across Srinagar and other areas of the Valley, thus leaving the commuters as well as pedestrians to suffer at large. The slippery conditions of the roads triggered by the fresh snowfall added to the miseries commuters today.
People especially in Old City areas had to face hardships today as the melting of snow inundated almost all lanes and bylanes in the residential areas.
Mayor Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Junaid Mattu held a meeting to take stock of the post snowfall work mechanism from various line departments to assess the situation in the Srinagar city on various fronts.
He said that at least 3000 sanitation workers are on job since yesterday early morning to clear up the snow from lanes and bylanes in the city, besides snow clearance drive is being taken up in hospitals, religious places, ration depots, vital roads, major markets , city centre and other important stretches.
He said that all the 85 permanent dewatering stations were fully functional and 32 mobile pumps were deputed in low lying and vulnerable spots in Srinagar City.
The fresh snowfall also affected the electricity in many areas across Kashmir, thus forcing the people to face hardships.
Majority of the areas are still under darkness in Central and South Kashmir despite restoration of maximum electricity feeders. People in majority areas mostly rural areas of the South Kashmir and Central Kashmir said that they are without electricity. In some places, people said that electricity is playing hide and seek.
Chief Engineer, Power Development Department (PDD), Aijaz Ahmad Dar said that 80 transformers got damaged due to the snowfall while many among them have been lifted from the spot. “We have adequate stock available and the damaged transformers will be replaced soon,” he said.
He also said since this morning a total of 427 feeders remain affected due to snowfall while the men and machinery already pressed managed to repair 382 feeders, adding that 20-25 feeders will be restored till late evening. “In case the snowfall stops, all the remaining feeders will be repaired till tomorrow,” he said, adding that the electricity across the Valley will be restored by tomorrow.
Reports from Reasi said that one week since heavy snowfall threw life out of gear in the higher reaches of Reasi, electricity supply in various areas of Reasi districts continues to be affected including Mahore , Chassana , Gulabgarh and Arnas besides Reasi town.
It is for the third straight day that around dozen adjoining villages in Mahore, Dharmari Sub Division in Reasi district have gone without electricity amid the ongoing cold wave. Whereas, in several villages of Chassana tehsil , the situation is worst . Locals said, it is for the straight seven days that the electricity comes for 10 minutes but remained out of supply for several hours. Tractors and private vehicles are new charging points for mobile phones and chargeable lights. Patients, businessmen and students are the worst sufferers.
In Mahore town, there is no electricity for the last three days. Various villages including Hammosan, Sherghari, Mamankote, Chandylkote, Sarsote, Dandkote, Sanglikote, Bagankote and others are facing power crisis.
A strong protest was also held today at Arnas where there is also no electricity for the last two days. The locals blocked the main road and after the assurance from Tehsildar, they dispersed peacefully. Xen PDD Reasi, Satpal Bhagat when contacted said that due to snowfall and heavy rainfall in the area, there was fault in the power lines and PDD staff was on the job to restore supply.
The power supply to many snow bound areas of Bhaderwah, Gandoh, Paddar, Chhatroo, Dessa, Gool Gulabgarh, Mahu Mangat, Chhatroo, Dudu-Basantgarh, Khawas-Budhal, Loran, Balakote and Bafliaz areas of Jammu region continued to be snapped for the last several days.