Record Snow Freezes Life In Srinagar
19 February 2005
The Indian Express
Srinagar: When residents of Srinagar woke up this morning, the city looked like a cluster of ancient villages, isolated and disconnected. A heavy snowfall, the first such since 1994, has cut off all roads, disrupted phone services, damaged electric polls and brought life to a sudden halt. A serious shortage of petrol, diesel, kerosene oil and cooking gas has led to panic as people are trying to horde essential commodities. The Meteorological Department says Srinagar received 2.5 feet of snowfall last night, while thick flakes of snow kept falling constantly. The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed after 15 feet of snow jammed the Jawahar tunnel. Anantnag town received 5 feet snow while a cold wave has engulfed the entire Valley. The Border Roads Organisation said six of their men had gone missing near the tunnel and were feared to be buried under an avalanche. There is a serious shortage of cooking gas, petrol, diesel, kerosene oil and foodstuff especially vegetables. Secretary to Chief Minister, Nayeem Akhtar said cooking gas and petrol are the main problem. 'Three companies, IOC, BPCL and BPL, have almost exhausted their stock,' he said, adding that 400 tankers carrying petrol, LPG, diesel and kerosene are stuck on the road as the national highway is closed. Superintendent of Police, PCR, Mubarak Ganai said, 'The government is trying its best to restore normal life.' The snowfall has worsened the existing power crisis and the entire Valley is now plunged in darkness. Officials of the Power Department said the snow has damaged all the three transmission lines used to feed electricity to the Valley.