Air traffic to resume today, highway still blocked
Srinagar: Normal Life continued to be badly affected in Kashmir Valley as snowfall stopped after four consecutive days on Wednesday. Flight operations to and fro Kashmir remained suspended while Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed due to mudslide and landslides at several other places en-route the thoroughfare besides snowfall in and around Jawahar Tunnel where close to four feet of snow was recorded.
Officials told GNS that the thoroughfare, the only surface link connecting Kashmir with the outside world, shall remain closed for on January 7 even as the restoration work is underway.
“On January 7, no vehicular movement shall be allowed on Jammu-Srinagar highway from Jammu towards Srinagar and vice-versa in view of snow accumulation around the Jawahar Tunnel, landslides/shooting stones/mudslides at Samroli, Dalwas, Cafeteria Morh, Sitaram Passi, Bai Nallah, Digdol Army Camp, Magerkot, Gangroo, Salad,” a traffic department official told GNS. Around 4500 vehicles, mainly carrying supplies to Valley as well as passenger vehicles are stranded at several place along the highway.
Regarding the air traffic, officials told GNS that all flights have been already cancelled but are being resumed from Thursday.
“All preparations are done. The flight operation will resume tomorrow (January 7). We request to all passengers to confirm flight status update with concern airlines and approach to Srinagar airport before time to avoid rush.”
Due to snowfall, the official said that all flights were cancelled on 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th January.
Meanwhile, normal life remained badly affected in Kashmir Valley even as there are reports of snowfall causing damage number of structures. Most lanes are still impassable for driving across the Valley while main roads are being cleared, reports said.
A MeT official said that Srinagar received 34.7cm of snowfall in the last 24 hours till 0830 hours while Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir, recorded 33.7cm during the time.
Pahalgam, the famous tourist destination, and Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, recorded 29.0 and 17cm of fresh snowfall, the MeT official said.
Regarding Gulmarg, the official said that the world famous skiing resort accumulated 28cm of fresh snowfall while Kupwara recorded 22cm of snowfall. Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal and Budgam districts received almost the same snow depth as Srinagar even as higher reaches accumulated more snow.
The heavy snowfall also caused power disruptions and as per official figures revealed during a meeting chaired by advisor to LG Baseer Ahmad Khan through video conference last evening, at least 223 feeders are still to be restored apart from several 33KV and 11KV lines. A few community transformers have also been damaged.
The snowfall has also led to severe disruptions in milk and vegetable supplies to parts of Srinagar and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Srinagar recorded a low of minus 0.9°C while mercury settled at minus 1.2°C in Pahalgam, minus 3.5°C in Gulmarg, minus 0.2°C in Qazigund, minus 0.7°C in Kupwara while Kokernag recorded a low of minus 1.0°C, the official said.
Kashmir is in the middle Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day winter period which commenced on December 21 and ends on January 31. The period is considered the harshest of the winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum.
The cold wave, however, continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold). The weatherman has forecast more snowfall in the next 24 hours and a “significant” improvement in from January 6.
The Weatherman has forecast a significant improvement in the weather conditions from this afternoon.
“Weather is improving gradually, significant improvement is expected from today afternoon onwards but light rain/snow will occur at scattered places of Jammu and Kashmir for next 24 hours,” Director Meteorological department Sonam Lotus said. “For now, there is no forecast of any major snowfall,” he said, adding, “From tomorrow, weather is likely to remain mainly dry.” (GNS)