Srinagar: Kashmir remained cut off from the rest of the country for the second day on Thursday with road and air links to the Valley snapped due to snowfall, the heaviest in a decade in the month of January.
The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed for traffic, while no flights operated from the airport here following heavy snowfall on Wednesday. However, there were no reports of fresh snowfall from any part of the Valley during the night.
"The national highway is closed for traffic today. No vehicle will be allowed to ply on the road," a Traffic Department spokesman said here.
He said the 294-km arterial highway – the only road-link between Kashmir Valley and the rest of the country – was being cleared of snow and could be made motorable later in the day.
No flights to and fro Srinagar Airport operated yesterday due to continuous snowfall. However, there are chances of the airport being made operational in the afternoon.
"No flight to and fro Srinagar Airport operated in the morning. But there is a possibility of flights operating in the afternoon," an official of the Airport Authority of India said.
The Valley received a fresh spell of snowfall on Wednesday, which was the heaviest in the month of January in the last 10 years. The snowfall had resulted in slightly improving the minimum temperatures, which brought a much-needed respite to the residents from the intense cold.
However, the mercury dropped across the Valley and Ladakh region last night, with Srinagar recording a low of 0.1 degree Celsius as against 0.2 degree Celsius the previous night, an official of the MET Department here said.
South Kashmir towns of Qazigund and Kokernag recorded the minimum temperatures of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius and minus 5.0 degrees Celsius, respectively. The mercury in the tourist resort of Pahalgam, also in south Kashmir, plummeted by over nine degrees from the previous night's low of minus 1.0 degrees Celsius, to settle at a minimum of minus 10.3 degrees Celsius last night.
The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg registered a low of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius as against minus 3.4 degrees Celsius the previous night. Kupwara, in north Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.3 degree Celsius, she said.
She said Leh, in the frontier region of Ladakh, recorded a low of minus 7.1 degrees Celsius compared to minus 5.2 degrees the previous night. The MET Department has said light to moderate rains or snowfall could occur at few places in the state over the next 24 hours, however, there would be decrease in precipitation over the next few days.
Meanwhile, at least 10 residential houses were damaged while three persons were injured due to heavy snowfall in Kashmir.
"Ten residential houses were damaged while three persons were injured due to heavy snowfall in South Kashmir's Anantnag District," a police spokesman said on Thursday.
A residential house, made of GI sheets and wood, belonging to Mohammad Yousuf Dar of Arwani area in the district collapsed due to heavy snowfall on Wednesday, the spokesman said. He said three persons including Dar's two children and a relative were injured in the incident.
Three residential houses were damaged in Hillar area of Kokernag Tehsil while two houses were damaged in Damhal Khushipora area of the district. Two residential houses and cowshed collapsed due to snowfall in Srigufwara area and two more houses were damaged at Mattan and Hutmurah, the spokesman added.
Twelve families from avalanche prone areas of Kulgam district were also evacuated to safety, he said.
"In view of heavy snowfall, eight families comprising 42 persons were shifted yesterday from avalanche prone areas of Kralaw in the jurisdiction of Police Post Kund Qazigund to safer place at Mirasi Nalah," he said.
The spokesman said four families were evacuated from Waltengonar to Wasenag in Kulgam district. Authorities in Kashmir have issued an avalanche warning in areas close to mountains in view of the recent heavy snowfall in the Valley.
Next: Omar reviews snow clearance operations in Valley
Omar reviews snow clearance operations in Valley
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today reviewed the snow clearance operations and progress on restoration of essential services in the wake of snowfall in the Valley.
Omar asked government officials to brave the weather vagaries courageously and face the challenges of nature with a missionary zeal to relieve the people from the difficulties imposed on them by the heavy snowfall.
He said the high spirit of responsiveness by the administration to public call at the hour of need is of paramount importance and denotes the dutifulness of government functionaries.
The Chief Minister chaired a high level meeting here this afternoon to ascertain the progress on restoration of essential services like road communication, power and water supply, availability of edibles and fuel, healthcare facilities and other services of emergency nature.
Omar impressed upon the officers to put in all efforts in mitigating difficulties caused by the heavy snowfall reportedly highest ever in the month of January during last ten years.
"You should monitor the restoration process thoroughly and have personal appraisal of the ground situation by visiting various areas, interacting with people and ascertaining their needs," he said. He also directed for timely installation and operationalisation of dewatering pumps in low lying areas so that people do not face problems due to the melting of snow.