Heavy snowfall since Sunday blocked roads and caused power outages and rationing of fuel in the Kashmir Valley, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. A sub-inspector of the Central Reserve Police Force and a woman lost their lives as well as a result of the snowfall, according to NDTV.
Normal life remained disrupted in the Valley even as the weather improved since Wednesday afternoon, reported Greater Kashmir. Over 12 inches of snow has been recorded in north Kashmir’s plains, while south Kashmir has seen up to 60 inches of snow, since the turn of the week.
The inclement weather has resulted in closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. However, flight services, which were earlier suspended, resumed on Thursday morning, PTI reported, quoting an Airports Authority of India official.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has capped the supply of fuel for two-wheelers at up to 3 litres, for private cars up to 10 litres and for commercial vehicles up to 20 litres. Cooking gas cylinders will also be issued after 21 days, The Indian Express reported, quoting Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir PK Pole.
Two killed due to snowfall
HC Murumur, a CRPF sub-inspector deployed at Srinagar’s Hazratbal died on Wednesday after a shed collapsed due to accumulation of snow, PTI reported. Meanwhile in Kupwara district, a 75-year old woman, identified as Rahmi Begum was killed after she was came under a snow avalanche.
A video clipping of a roof collapse circulated on social media, capturing the gravity of the situation.
Officials said they were assessing the damage and added that it would take a couple of days to get a clearer picture about the number of houses that have been damaged by snow, according to NDTV.
However, the authorities are facing criticism due to their lack of preparation despite predictions made by the weather department.
“I have heard about rationing of fuel for the first time,” Srinagar resident Firdous Ahmad Mir told The Indian Express. “The [Srinagar-Jammu] road would remain closed for a week at most. Does it mean that they don’t have stocks to last even a week?”
An official tasked with removing snow from the main highways admitted that they made a “tactical mistake” by clearing the roads on Tuesday night, as there was fresh snowfall on Wednesday morning, according to the newspaper.
On Wednesday, the India Meteorological Department had predicted an improvement in weather from Thursday, according to the Hindustan Times. However, cold wave conditions are expected to persist after the snowfall.