Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow paralyses normal life in Valley

The incessant snowfall for the second consecutive day today continued to paralyse normal life across the Kashmir valley, snapping all road and air links. About 6.8 inch fresh snow was recorded here in the past 24 hours, leaving the summer capital covered in nearly 10 inch blanket of snow in last two days. The maximum snowfall, however, has been recorded at famous tourist destination, Gulmarg, in the north with 3 feet snow, and above one feet snow has been recorded at Banihal, Batote and Bhaderwah areas. Kupwara received 9.6 inch snow. In South Kashmir, Qazigund received most snow, 11.6 inch, since last evening while Pahalgam and Kokernag received 10 and 7.2 inch snow respectively. Snowfall was continuing at many places when the last reports came in.

Despite the precipitation, the sub-zero temperatures persist. The night temperature recorded in Srinagar was minus 2.2 degree Celsius while at noon, it was only minus 0.3 degree Celsius. The challenging weather has paralysed normal life here and elsewhere in the valley. With snow covering most roads, the public movement is largely affected.While the authorities partially cleared the major intra-district and intra-district roads, the vehicular movement remained reduced to inconvenient levels besides the snow-covered link roads limited the utility of the private cars. Consequently, the people were forced to stay indoors.Thin attendance was seen in the government and semi-government offices. The markets wore a cold look throughout the day, and most shops could be seen with shutters down. The Srinagar-Jammu highway is continuously closed for traffic with hundreds of vehicles stranded. “The road is closed. Around 300 trucks are stranded on this side of the highway while some trucks are also stranded near Batote area,” the officials in the traffic control unit here told Jk News. The snow has also snapped the air links to the valley. All flights schedule to operate from Srinagar International airport were cancelled due to poor visibility and continuous snowfall. 

“We have around 25 snow clearance vehicles working round the clock to clear the runway. Although it is cleared, but due to poor visibility and continuous snowfall, flights are not able to operate from here,” the PRO airport said.The snow has created a visible dearth of essential supplies. The mutton, chicken, eggs, vegetables and milk are not readily available to people. “The packed milk is not available in the market since yesterday. I went looking for it for nearly two kilometers, but all in vain. I am now forced to get the powdered milk,” Shakeel Ahmad of Hyderpora said.The government has already called for remedial measures to deal with the acute shortage of the cooking gas. However, the consumers are yet to feel the relief. “For four days I have been looking for the HP gas, but it is no where available. Now we are forced to use the traditional means like firewood for cooking,” Mudasir Ahmad of Anantnag said.

No major let off The meteorological department has predicted snow or rains in the next 24 hours, but the precipitation is likely to decrease. “Moderate rain/snowfall will occur at many places across the state,” the Met department said in the mid-day weather report. It, however, sounded the warning that moderate rain/snow would occur at a few places in Jammu as well as Kashmir regions. Govt constitutes control roomThe government has set up control room for complaints regarding the non-clearance of snow. People have been asked to complaints on telephone numbers: 0194-2470465 (SMC); 0194-2310482 (R&B).

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