NH, many roads closed after landslides; one dead

Fresh snowfall in Srinagar. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Fresh snowfall in Srinagar. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Heavy rain, snowfall across J&K; air, train services hit

Avalanche warning issued, exams postponed

Gopal Sharma

SRINAGAR/ JAMMU, Jan 30: Entire Jammu and Kashmir experienced heavy rain since last night while higher reaches and most parts of Kashmir valley experienced fresh snowfall, affecting flight operation and surface transport while Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and several other roads have been blocked due to landslides in the region.
All flights at Srinagar Airport were cancelled today due to snowfall while train service also remained suspended in the Valley. Director Airport Authority at Srinagar, Kuldip Singh said that 68 flights scheduled to operate today, were cancelled.

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Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was blocked at several places between Nashri Tunnel and Banihal in Ramban area due to landslides/mudslides and shooting of stones since early hours today. At Panthyal the highway turned dangerous where frequent falling of boulders and shooting of stones continued throughout the day.
Apart from Panthyal, Mehar, Cafeteria Morh, Seri, Maggarkote, Maroog and Nachlana were other problematic areas today where land and mudslides created havoc. At Cowbagh near Ramban, an oil tanker No.JK02BE/6628 skidded off the road during heavy rain and fell into a Nallah at around 2.30 am today. The driver of the vehicle namely Imtiaz Wani, hailing from Wagan in Banihal died in the mishap.
No fresh movement of vehicles from Udhampur and Jammu side and also from Qazigund in Kashmir side was allowed today while some stranded vehicles were cleared towards Valley last night. Over 2000 vehicles were reported to have been stranded at various places along the highway between Jammu and Srinagar besides Dhar Road and Samba -Mansar road.
Batote-Kishtwar road was blocked due to landslides at Faggumarh near Thathri and Raggi Nalla between Batote and Doda today. The traffic remained suspended on the road for over 3-4 hours, however, the road was restored in the afternoon, a senior Traffic police officer said.
Kishtwar-Paddar, Dachhan, Thathri- Gandoh, Ramban-Gool-Mahore-Reasi and Mahore-Budhal roads have been closed. Latti-Dudu-Basantgarh and Ramnagar roads have also been blocked due to heavy snowfall and landslides. A bus was trapped in mudslides on Thathri-Gandoh road today, however, the passengers were rescued.
Hill resort of Patnitop experienced about 6-8 inch snowfall, Nathatop about 2ft, Bhaderwah about 5-6 inch, Dudu and Basantagarh about 6 inch snowfall by this evening. Trikuta hills of Mata Vaishnodevi also experienced fresh snowfall today. The chopper and battery car service at the holy shrine remained suspended today due to bad weather and snowfall while on-foot Yatra continued despite rain and snowfall.
Three tourists trapped in heavy snow at Nathatop in Patnitop area were rescued by police today. They hailed from Uttar Pradesh. Police party from Patnitop led by SI Sushil Kumar rescued them and brought back to Patnitop.
Kashmir was covered in a blanket of snow today and the weatherman has forecast gradual improvement of weather from tonight.
A Meteorological Department official said that widespread moderate to heavy snowfall has been reported in Kashmir. “On January 31, cloudy weather with light snow and rain is expected at isolated to scattered places,” he added.
Kangdori recorded 6 feet, Affarwat 5.5 Feet, Gulmarg 4.5 feet, Babareshi 2 feet, Tangmarg 1.5 feet, Machil 2 feet, Sadnattop 2.5 feet, Furkia Top 2 feet, Gurez one feet, Tulail one feet, Razdan Top 2 feet, Shopian one feet, Sedow 1.5 feet, Heerpora 2 feet, Keller 1.5 feet, Pulwama 6 inches, Rajpora one feet, Tral 3 inches, Pampore 2 inches, Srinagar six inches, Budgam plains 6 inches and higher reaches one feet and 6 inches in Ganderbal.
Meanwhile, Director, Airport Authority of India (AAI), Srinagar Airport, Kuldeep Singh said that 68 flights were scheduled to operate today. “All 68 flights were cancelled due to low visibility and continuous snowfall,” he said.
He said that all airlines will accommodate the passengers of the cancelled flights in the next available flight without any extra charges.
“The option of the full refund without any deduction will also be available”.
An official said that the surface was kept clean and clear of snow throughout the day despite continuous and heavy snowfall. However, continuous snowfall and low visibility meant that no flight could operate.
The train services were also suspended for the day and Srinagar-Jammu National Highway also remained closed for the traffic.
Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority on Sunday issued avalanche warning for ten districts in upcoming 24 hours, amid prevailing inclement weather conditions.
Avalanche with Medium Danger Level is likely to occur above 1500 to 2500 metres over Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kupwara and Kulgam districts.
Avalanche with ‘Low Danger Level’ is likely to occur above 1500 metres over Anantnag district.
People living in these areas are advised to take precautions and avoid venturing in the avalanche prone areas.
Kashmir University and Cluster University Srinagar today postponed various examinations scheduled for tomorrow in view of inclement weather conditions.
“All PG, engineering and other examinations scheduled to be held on January 31, 2023 (Tuesday) have been postponed in view of inclement weather conditions,” Controller Examinations KU Dr Majid Zaman said in a statement adding, “fresh dates for the deferred Examinations will be notified separately later.”
Meanwhile, all the examinations of Cluster University Srinagar scheduled tomorrow have been postponed due to inclement weather, the varsity said in a notice. “Fresh dates for postponed papers shall be notified separately,” Controller of Examinations Cluster University Srinagar added. These varsities also postponed similar examinations scheduled today (January 30).
Snowfall affected power supply in many areas in Kashmir even as authorities said that the restoration work was going on and expressed optimism about early restoration.
“Due to heavy snowfall, electric supply to many areas of Kashmir Valley got disrupted. The load of the whole valley dipped below 850 MWs during the early morning hours,” an official of the KPDCL said.
Out of total 33 KV feeders, he said, 14 were under fault along with four 33 KV Taplines which affected the power supply mainly to Sopore, Kupwara and Handwara area of north Kashmir. Few portions of District Budgam and of District Anantnag were also affected due to the outage of 4 No. of 33 KV lines. In addition, he said, around 215 11 KV feeders were under fault due to heavy snowfall.
From early morning, Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Ltd. field teams were mobilized to rectify the faults. Despite the continuous snowfall and braving the extreme freezing temperature, he said, the field teams were able to bring up the load of Kashmir Valley to around 1590 MWs by 3 PM.
It is pertinent to mention that at present only four 33 KV lines which specially feed to Sopore area of District Baramulla and few areas of Bijbehera are under fault and by evening all the 33 KV lines will be charged, he said. “Out of all the 11 KV feeders only 154 feeders remain out due to the faulty status of four 33KV lines.”
The MD KPDCL is himself closely monitoring the situation and assures the public that all the feeders will be up and live, the official said.
Meanwhile, he said, the Managing Director has also praised the patience shown by the public towards the Corporation that may have been affected by the disrupted electric lines that were under faulty since morning and assures the public that the field team of KPDCL won’t rest till all the feeders are up and running.
In compliance to the directions from Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Athar Amir Khan following prediction of snowfall, the men and machinery of the corporation has been on the snow clearance job since early morning to ensure hassle free movement of general public and vehicular movement.
An official informed that all the major roads, link-roads, streets and alleys have been cleared of snow both through machines as well as manually.
Officers, frontline warriors and machinery are on the ground to meet any challenge in case of any eventuality, he added.
The Commissioner SMC also toured various City areas, hospitals to have firsthand appraisal of snow clearance status. He visited SMHS Hospital, Dastgeer sahab, JLMN Hospital, Chatti padshahi, Dargah and Imam Bargah Zadibal to monitor the Snow clearance from ground zero.
During the visit to Karan Nagar and adjoining localities and SMHS Hospital, Commissioner SMC directed the concerned officials to install mobile dewatering pumps at all vital places especially the hospitals.
He impressed upon the concerned officials that the roads and streets leading to hospitals, Public Health Centers and educational centers should be given first priority for Snow clearance.
Commissioner SMC was accompanied by officers from various agencies, besides senior officials of Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
In the meantime, Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.2°C against minus 2.4°C on the previous night. Today’s minimum temperature was above normal by 0.8°C for the city.
Qazigund recorded a low of minus 0.1°C against minus 2.8°C on the previous night and it was 2.5°C below normal for the town.
Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 1.4°C against minus 5.6°C on the previous night and it was 4.7°C above normal for the tourist place.
Kokernag recorded a low of minus 0.8°C against minus 2.7°C on the previous night and it was 1.8°C above normal for the place.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 4.6°C against minus 7.2°C on the previous night and it was 2.9°C above normal for the skiing resort.
In Kupwara town, the mercury settled at minus 0.4°C against minus 1.0°C on the previous night and it was above 2.1°C below normal for the town.
Leh and Kargil recorded a low of minus 0.6°C and minus 6.8°C respectively. Jammu recorded a sharp fall in day temperature, about 7 degrees below normal. Katra, Bhaderwah and Batote towns have also experienced fall in temperatures as compared to past two days.