Press "Enter" to skip to content

Heavy snowfall cuts off Kashmir; avalanche kills 4

Surface and air links between Kashmir and rest of the country were cut off on Wednesday due to snowfall in the valley as the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed for traffic and all flights to Srinagar Airport cancelled.

A train moves on the snow-covered Baramulla-Qazigund railway track after fresh heavy snowfall. Photograph: Umar Ganie

“The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has been closed for traffic due to snowfall which has rendered the road slippery. Efforts are on the make the road traffic worthy at the earliest,” an official of the Traffic Control Department said.

Most of the flights to and for Srinagar International Airport have been been cancelled due to poor visibility.

“Two airlines have put their flights to Srinagar on a stand by while rest of the carriers have cancelled their flights for the day,” an official of the Airport Authority of India said.

Trucks stranded on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. Photograph: Umar Ganie

With more snowfall forecast over the next 24 hours, the opening of Srinagar-Jammu Highway — the only all weather road link between the Kashmir and rest of the country — seems unlikely on Wednesday.

The closure of the road link has resulted in rise in prices of essential commodities like vegetables and food grains.

The stocks of cooking gas have depleted significantly as the trucks carrying the supplies have been either held up in Jammu or stranded en route the 294-km road.

A youth walks through snow-covered trees after fresh heavy snowfall in the Valley. Photograph: Umar Ganie

A youth walks through snow-covered trees after fresh heavy snowfall in the Valley. Photograph: Umar Ganie

Officials in the Divisional Administration maintain that there are enough stocks of essentials while market checking squads have been formed to keep the prices under control.

Meanwhile, most parts of Kashmir Division including Ladakh continued to reel under subzero temperatures with Gulmarg in north Kashmir being the coldest recorded place.

The minimum temperature in the skiing resort fell to minus 3.4 degrees Celsius.

A man clears the snow from the roof of his house in Kashmir Valley. Photograph: Umar Ganie

The mercury has failed to breach the freezing point for more than 24 hours there as the maximum temperature on Tuesday stood at minus 1.4 degrees Celsius, an official of the MET department said.

Leh in Ladakh region recorded a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius.

The authorities in Kashmir have issued an avalanche warning for higher reaches of the Valley following Tuesday’s snowfall and advised people to stay away from the mountains and foothills.

A snow-clearing machine ploughs its way through Photograph: Umar Ganie

Four members of a family died on Wednesday as an avalanche buried their house in Gurez sector near the Line of Control in Kashmir.

The avalanche struck at Badoogam village in Tulail area of Gurez in the wee hours and buried the house of Mehraj-ud-Din Lone, a police official said.

He said the house collapsed under the debris of the avalanche resulting in death of 55-year-old Lone, his wife Azizi (50), 22-year-old son Irfan and daughter Gulshan (19).

Lone’s another son, Reyaz Ahmad, was rescued by the authorities and admitted to a hospital, the official said.

Source: Rediff