*Frequent power cuts give sleepless nights to people
Fayaz Bukhari/Gopal Sharma
SRINAGAR/ JAMMU, Jan 21: While traffic on busy-Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was disrupted for about eight long hours today due to landslides and shooting stones in Ramban area, Srinagar City and parts of Jammu and Kashmir received fresh snowfall today with the minimum temperatures dropping across Kashmir barring Srinagar and Qazigund where it rose by few notches.
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Official sources told the Excelsior that while there was no rain during the day in Ramban area but due to falling of boulders and shooting stones, the National Highway was blocked near Panthyal at around 8 am today. This point has become problematic for the last few weeks.
The frequent shooting of stones created hurdles in launching operation clearance. A large number of vehicles on the highway remained stranded for hours on both the sides. Some attempts were made to restore traffic earlier but the highway was blocked several times due to frequent fall of stones. The highway was fully cleared at around 4 pm and at first the stranded light motor vehicles were cleared.
According to traffic schedule, today the movement of heavy vehicles from Kashmir side was to be allowed. But due to blockade, these vehicles were allowed to move after 5 pm, that too, after the clearance of LMVs. Massive traffic jam was created in Banihal, Ramban, Chanderkote, Nashri and Chenani areas after the highway was cleared. No fresh movement of traffic from Jammu side was allowed today, a Traffic police official said.
DC Ramban said that traffic was restored on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway (NH-44), after being disrupted for about eight hours this afternoon.
He directed officers to ensure regular essential services and supplies across district. Continuing the snow and slide clearance operations, Executing Departments have restored most of the major link roads and work is in progress to open roads closed due to snowfall and landslides at different locations in the district Ramban.
The departments including Jal Shakti and JPDCL also restored water and power supply services in the majority of the areas, which were affected due to moderate to heavy snowfall in hilly areas of the district.
Monitoring the situation closely, Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Mussarat Islam ordered all senior officers including SDMs, CMO, Executive Engineers, JPDCL, Jal Shakti, PWD and PMGSY, Tehsildars, other officers and field functionaries of essential departments to ensure regular essential services and supplies to people for their convenience.
Meanwhile, the weather was partially cloudy in Jammu, Udhampur and Reasi areas today and rush of domestic tourists at Kud and Patnitop was witnessed after a spell of fresh snowfall yesterday. However, the movement of vehicles was restricted at some places. Chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine was disrupted for some time during today due to bad weather but battery car operated smoothly.
Reports of fresh snowfall on the higher reaches of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Doda, Bhaderwah, Bani and Kishtwar have been received. The power supply to many hilly and snowbound areas has been disrupted in the region. The people in many areas including Jammu city are fed up of long power cuts by the PDD authorities. The long power cuts are giving sleepless nights to the people during this severe cold month.
A Meteorological Department official said that there will be rain and snowfall for the next few days across Kashmir.
Srinagar received 2 cm of snowfall, Qazigund 13 cm, Pahalgam 32.9 cm, Kokernag 18.5cm and Gulmarg 8.2cm.
Srinagar recorded a low of 0.2°C temperature against last night’s minus 0.1°C. Today’s minimum temperature was 2.5°C above normal for the place.
Qazigund recorded a low of minus 0.4°C against minus 0.6°C the previous night and it was 3.5°C above normal for the town.
Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 3.8°C against minus 2.9°C the previous night and it was 3.7°C above normal for the place.
Kokernag recorded a low of minus 3.9°C against minus 1.4°C on the previous night and it was 0.3°C below normal for the place.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 8.4°C against minus 7.6°C on the previous night and it was 0.2°C below normal for the skiing resort.
In Kupwara town, the mercury settled at minus 2.8°C against minus 1.5°C on the previous night and it was 0.1°C above normal for the town.
Leh and Kargil recorded a low of minus 12.2°C and minus 13.8°C respectively.
Jammu recorded night temperature of 6.0 degree C, Katra town 6.7 deg C, tourist resort Bhaderwah 0.2 deg C, Batote town -0.5 deg C and Banihal 0.2 degree C temperature today.
The MeT department here has predicted wet weather to continue and said that widespread moderate to heavy snow over middle and higher reaches was expected from January 23-25.
In next 24 hours, he said, generally cloudy weather was expected with chances of fairly widespread light snow and rain over J&K.
“From January 23-25, there is possibility of widespread moderate snow (rain in Jammu) in plains and heavy snow over middle and higher reaches (60% chance),” he said, adding, “on January 26, there are chances of rain in Jammu region and cloudy in Kashmir (60% chance).”
The MeT official also urged people living in snowbound areas to remain alert and cautious while venturing in the places which are vulnerable to snow avalanches.