Monday, January 16, 2012

Fresh snowfall lashes hilly areas

With continuous rainfall in plains and snowfall in upper reaches, Jammu region continued to reel under severe cold weather conditions. The people were forced to remain inside their houses both in the plains and hilly areas due to harsh weather conditions. Traffic on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway as well as other roads connecting interiors of majority of the districts remained suspended for third consecutive day, today.

A snow avalance hit the Mahu Mangat area of Banihal, damaging three seasonal houses (Dhoks) completely, while like the valley several remote areas of district Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur and Kathua remained cut off from rest of the world due to snapping of road connectivity. These areas reportedly are facing acute shortage of food and medicines, as none of the agency managed to reach them. The residents of these areas were not expecting such heavy snowfall and were not prepared to handle any adverse situation.

Meanwhile, Vaishnodevi pilgrimage is going on despite snowfall continuing in and around the cave shrine.Our correspondent Khawaja Sharjeel from Banihal reported that a snow avalanche hit Mahoo Mangit area where 9 feet of snow accumulated with fresh and continuous snowfall today. 6 families of this hamlet migrated to safer areas. Three seasonal houses were damaged in the avalanche at Hargam Mangit with no loss of life. The snowfall continued in the area when reports last came in increasing threat of more avalanches.3 more houses were damaged in different villages of the tehsil.With fresh 4.5 feet snowfall today, 8 feet snow acumulated at Jawahar tunnel, 2.6 feet at Banihal, 3 feet at Pogal Paristan, 5 inches at Ramsu, 5 inches at Batote and 7 inches at Patnitop.

Snow avalanche also hit Shatani Nallah area of Banihal with no loss to life and property, landslide on National Highway at Gangru Ramsu, shooting stones at Panthal (Ramsu) with heavy rains at Ramban and Chanderkot.Banihal, Ramsu and Ramban are facing huge shortage of LPG cylinders and other essential commodities. The locals alleged that LPG outlets are selling gas to the hotel owners at Rs 600 per cylinder against its original rate of Rs 470.

When Tehsidhar Banihal Niyaz Ahmed Wani was contacted, he told that shortage of LPG has already been reported to DDC Ramban.Only one water tanker is supplying drinking water to the towns and surrounding areas of Banihal where roads are clear.16 passengers are stranded at Banihal and they have been accommodated in shelter shed Gund Adalkot Banihal. One of the stranded passengers suffered from heart problem and he was immediately shifted to Emergency Hospital Banihal where he is said to be stable after medicare.

BEACON authorities today cleared snow to make through one way from Banihal to Jawahar Tunnel but due to heavy and continuous snowfall at Banihal, Jawahar Tunnel, traffic was not allowed to ply on the National Highway.Due to continuous snowfall at Banihal, electricity could not be restored regularly. It was learnt that no private or local labour had been working for the restoration of power and only lineman and causal labourers are working round the clock.The district administration claimed to have made adequate arrangements for the stranded passengers at the highway in Ramban district.

Our correspondent Devinder Sharma from Reasi reported that Vaishnodevi pilgrimage is going on despite snowfall continuing in and around the cave shrine.Snowfall is continuing in and around the Mata Vaishnodevi shrine. There is already four to five inches of snowfall triggering extreme cold conditions. The shrine and its adjoining area at Trikuta hills received the season's first snowfall on January 6. Despite the cold condition, pilgrimage is going on smoothly and over 5,000 pilgrims are undertaking yatra to the shrine, official reports said.

Helicopter services for the pilgrims have been suspended in view of the snowfall, reports added.Majority of the areas of Mahore and Gulabgarh have been cut off from rest of the state since last over a week as these are under white cover of snow. The Sarpanches of Gulabgarh, Kandyara, Ransal and Bandhara of Gulabgarh constituency called up KTNS and reported that they are facing acute shortage of ration and medicines as their areas are under the cover of over 9 feet snow since one week.The assistance provided by the administration reached only in two Panchayats i.e. Dewal and Jandiala but at-least dozen other Panchayats were still dry. The people are trying to save their houses by clearing snow from rooftops of their houses.
SSP Reasi Atul Goel, when contacted, said that all links to these areas are closed while the weather conditions are also not improving for airlift of ration and medicines. The army has been requested to assist the population in these remote areas, he added.

DC Reasi Sheetal Nanda said that if the weather improves, ration and other essential commodities will be dispatched on priority to Gulabgarh constituency.Our correspondent Anubhav Misri from Poonch reported that traffic on Jammu-Poonch is through but traffic has been affected on majority of approaching roads due to rains and snowfall. Due to heavy snowfall, alert has been sounded by the army at LoC.Normal life has been thrown out of gear due to continuous snowfall in Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Doda district, Pir Panchal ranges in Poonch and Rajouri districts, besides Bani, Mahore areas in Kathua and Udhampur districts since yesterday.

Meanwhile, mercury dipped in parts of Jammu due to continuous rains. As per official reports, 52.8 mm rainfall has been recorded in Jammu in the last couple of days. The traffic in the city of temples moves at snails pace.

The office goers and students were affected due to heavy rains and thin presence of employees and students was witnessed in the offices and schools.The air and train traffic remain affected throughout the day.Agencies from New Delhi adds:As flights to Srinagar remained cancelled due to bad weather today, Air India has decided to operate two special flights to Jammu and Kashmir capital tomorrow to bring back stranded passengers."Air India will operate two special flights, one at 10.15 AM and another at 1 PM, from Delhi to Srinagar and back tomorrow to bring passengers stranded there as flights were cancelled today due to bad weather there," an Air India spokesperson said.The airlines has asked the passengers to contact its helpline or toll free numbers, visit website or travel agent for details. Air India operates a daily flight to Srinagar.

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