Valley News Desk

Heavy snowfall cuts off Kashmir for 4th day

Srinagar, Jan 6: After three days of
incessant snowfall, weather in Kash-
mir witnessed a significant improve-ment on Wednesday but heavy
snowfall left property worth lakhs
of rupees damaged and two persons
including a CRPF sub-inspector dead.
Tin roofs of one dozen houses,
unable to bear the weight of snow, col-
lapsed in Shopian, Baramulla, Gan-
derbal and Srinagar, while dozens of
cow-sheds and temporary structures
also got damaged at many places
across the Valley, officials said.

A CRPF sub-inspector died on duty
after a shed collapsed at a former
National Conference legislator’s
house in Hazratbal area of Srinagar
while an elderly woman was killed
by snow falling off a roof in Trehgam
area of Kupwara in north Kashmir.
The roof and upper storey of a newly-
constructed residential house at Teng-
pora and another house at Jawahar
Nagar in Srinagar collapsed due to
accumulation of snow, officials said.
As videos of the roof collapse sur-
faced on social media, it created panic
among Valley residents, who have
been reeling under the heavy snow-
fall since Saturday night.

Meanwhile,people from various parts of the Valley told this newspaper
about the problems arising out of the accumulation of
snow. Many areas continued to remain inaccessible due
to the heavy snowfall while power breakdown in several
areas caused a huge inconvenience, locals from Shopian
said. Life in Valley continued to be crippled for the third
consecutive day as shops at many places remained closed
and traffic was off the roads.

When contacted, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K
Pole told the Greater Kashmir that maximum impact of the snowfall has
been felt in Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam districts, where efforts were
being made to ensure that “even far-flung areas are made accessible
soon”. Pole said he had a day-long visit to Kulgam and Anantnag, where
essential services were also being restored gradually. “Almost 70 to 80
per cent road clearance on the Tehsil and Block level has been managed.
We are hopeful that rural areas of Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag will be
made accessible by tomorrow as concerned departments are working
on snow clearance,” Pole said.
Commenting on restoration of power supply, Pole said there
were “minor faults affecting power supply” during this snowfall
as compared to last few years of power breakdowns caused by
the snowfall. He said 95 per cent power supply had been restored
in summer capital Srinagar. “The damaged transformers have
been replaced and whatever remaining faults in city areas, will
be rectified in the next 24 hours. We are hopeful that 100 per cent
electricity is restored in rural areas in the next 72 hours and first
these areas are being made accessible,” Pole said.
When asked about damages caused to property due to the
heavy snowfall, Pole said one dozen houses and temporary struc-
tures in Srinagar and structures in south Kashmir were damaged.
“The damages will be compensated under the State Disaster
Response Fund (SDRF) and even under provisions of the Red
Cross Relief. We are making a loss assessment and our teams
have been on the ground for making the assessment,” Pole said.
Highway remains closed, no flight operations at Srinagar Airport:
The 270-kilometre Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained
closed for the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday due to accu-
mulation of snow near the Jawahar Tunnel and other places. Besides,
there have been a large number of landslides at multiple places
hampering the road clearance process, officials said. Traffic officials
said hundreds of vehicles stranded on the highway “will be allowed
to move towards their destination as soon as the road re-opens”.
Meanwhile, for the fourth consecutive day, no flights could
operate from the Srinagar International Airport. Air traffic was can-
celled on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday due to heavy snowfall.
Director, Airports Authority of India, Srinagar Airport, Santosh
Dhoke said all 23 scheduled flights were cancelled due to the snow-
fall on Wednesday. Dhoke said the snow clearance process contin-
ued till late afternoon but no flights could operate. The official said
the resumption of flight operations on Thursday will depend on the
visibility. “With an improvement in weather predicted by the Met
department, we are hopeful that normal flight operations will resume
Thursday,” Dhoke said. Meanwhile, the Border Roads Organisation
has cleared the runway at Srinagar International Airport after it was
closed due to heavy snowfall, a statement issued here said. It said
BRO had “put men and machinery into work to clear the airport
runway amid hectic efforts”. Officials said that after 72 hours of
snowfall in Kashmir the BRO pressed hi-tech equipment to clear
the runway. “It was made possible due to the continuous operation
of the snow clearance machine on the runway to prevent the icing
on the highway,” said Col. Mukesh of BRO.
MeT says “mainly dry weather” till Jan 14:

As per the latest MeT forecast, light rain or snowfall was likely
to occur at scattered places of Jammu and Kashmir for the next 24
hours. However, the forecast said there was no prediction of “any
major snowfall and weather will remain mainly dry till January 14”.
Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Authority (DMA) on
Wednesday issued high, medium and low level avalanche warn-
ing for higher reaches of avalanche prone areas of Jammu and
Kashmir. As per an advisory issued, high danger level avalanche
warning has been issued for higher reaches of Poonch, Ramban,
Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara Bandipora and
Kulgam districts. Similarly, medium level avalanche warning has
been issued for higher reaches of Rajouri, Udhampur, Ganderbal
and Reasi districts. People living in these areas have been advised
to take precautions and avoid going to the vulnerable areas and to
remove snow from their rooftops to avoid loss of lives.


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