The Kashmir Valley on Saturday received the season’s first snowfall, with Srinagar receiving snowfall in the month of November after nine years, reported Greater Kashmir. Air and road travel were affected while several parts of the valley had no power due to the snowfall.
On Saturday afternoon, all incoming and outgoing flights to Srinagar airport were cancelled due to poor visibility. Srinagar-Leh National Highway and Mughal Road were reportedly closed for traffic due to landslides triggered by the snowfall.
The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National highway, connecting Kashmir with rest of the country, has now been reopened for one-way traffic, Senior Superintendent of Police (Ramban) Anita Sharma said on Sunday. The highway had been closed for traffic on Saturday after heavy snowfall triggered landslides.
Sharma said more than 300 stranded passengers, including tourists and dozens of security personnel who were rescued on Saturday night, were allowed to move towards Jammu.
Over 120 persons, mostly truckers, were also rescued from Peer Ki Gali along the Mughal Road and shifted to Surankote in Poonch district on Saturday, reported PTI. Over three feet of snow had accumulated in the Peer Ki Gali stretch of the road which connects the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu with Shopian in South Kashmir.
Authorities also started a snow clearance operation along the Mughal Road, which connects Poonch and Rajouri districts in Jammu with south Kashmir’s Shopian district. “The operation was started this [Sunday] afternoon following improvement in the weather,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Mohammad Rafiq. “We are on the job and efforts are on to ensure early restoration of the road, which usually remains closed during winter owing to heavy snowfall in Peer Ki Gali area.”
Reports said several major hospitals in the Valley had no electricity and were running on generators. Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed Shah said the Valley has been getting only 80 megawatts of electricity against the usual demand of 1,300 MW. “We are fighting natures fury to restore the power supply on war footing,” he tweeted.
Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has called for urgent restoration of road connectivity and electricity supply in the affected areas, according to Greater Kashmir. He also asked the divisional administrations of Kashmir and Jammu divisions and district administrations to set up control rooms.
The meteorological department has predicted snowfall and rain in parts of Jammu and Kashmir over 24 hours starting Saturday. “The weather is in no mood to relent,” said Jammu and Kashmir Met Department Director Sonum Lotus, according to Kashmir Reader. “Snowfall will be witnessed in several higher and lower regions as well.” He said the weather will start improving on Monday and will remain dry for two to three weeks.
Met officials said Srinagar recorded 4 cm of snow with a maximum of 6.3 degrees Celsius, according to Greater Kashmir. Machines to clear snow from the roads and pumps to drain out water have been deployed.