Smog hits train services in North, visibility may improve after Nov 15

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Nov 10: The increasing level of pollution and thick cover of smog in the atmosphere has badly affected the train services in the entire northern region while Meteorological department  has predicted improvement in the weather condition after November 15.
Most of the trains reaching Jammu station today were late by two to 12 hours while departure timings of several trains had to be rescheduled. This caused a massive rush of passengers at the Jammu Railway Station besides Katra and Udhampur. The inter -state bus service was also affected with poor visibility on the highways.
The increasing level of vehicular  and industrial pollution has generated lot of smog  in the Punjab, Haryana and New Delhi while fog will start generating with the decline in temperature mostly  from last week of November or first week of December. The smog  has not only hit the Railway service but the air service also in some areas of northern India.
Director, Meteorological Department, J&K Sonam Lotus told the Excelsior that  due to increased level of smog in the atmosphere in view of  industrial and vehicular pollution, the train services in the entire northern region has been badly affected. He said the suspended particles of pollution / smoke in the atmosphere have generated thick clouds of smog and the visibility on the highways and train tracks has been reduced to large extent. Due to poor visibility, the chances of accidents on the highway have increased and speed of the trains has been reduced to nearly half.
Responding to a question, the Met Director said the weather is at transition phase  at this juncture in October-November. The atmosphere is highly stable during this phase. The dust and smoke particles in the atmosphere   remain suspended  with lesser displacement in the absence of winds. Therefore, the smog is generated mostly in the densely  populated cities like Delhi, Ludhiana, Agra, Bhopal,  Hyderabad etc  and industrtial areas.
He said during this period after cultivation of paddy crop, the farmers  burn the residue (remaining dry stems) in the fields. This also create massive level of  air pollution.  This activity is mostly seen in Punjab, Haryana, UP etc.  As far as J&K and Himachal Pradesh are  concerned, the level of smog is very less. Moreover, continued dry spell is another reason behind it.
Dr Sonam disclosed that due to western disturbances, the rain is expected on November  14 and 15. The snowfall on higher reaches is also expected.  After November 15, the weather condition  will  improve and the visibility on the highways and train tracks will also considerably improve. He said the generation of fog in the plain areas will be observed after the temperature would considerably  decline, below 7-8 degree Celsius. He claimed that fog is expected from first week of December.
Meanwhile, a Railway spokesman said that due to poor visibility, Malwa Express was late by 7 hours,  Shri Shakti by 4.30 hrs, Hemkund  by 2.30 hrs, Shalimar Express by 5 hrs, Uttar Sampark Kranti by 7 hrs, Amarnath Express by 12 hrs, Tata Moori by 7 hrs, Jammu Mail by 4 hrs, Varanasi Begumpura by 6 hrs, Swaraj Express by 9.30 hours and Bathinda Express by 2.30 hrs today. The departure timings of several trains were being rescheduled late this evening, the spokesman said.


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