Snowfall Stalls Food Supply In Valley
20 February 2005
The Times of India
Srinagar: Almost four feet of snow fell in Srinagar on Sunday. Anantnag, Kulgam, Qazigund, Veerinag, Pahalgam in Anantnag district received four to six feet of snow. In adjacent Pulwama district, the snowfall recorded was between five to nine feet at Kellar, Shopian and Pulwama town. Authorities are still struggling to rescue seven Beacon Project personnel buried in avalanches on the national highway since Friday. In Poonch, 18 people are reportedly killed after three avalanches hit Loranmundi village, burying seven houses. Ten bodies have been retrieved so far. In Doda district, an old couple and their daughter in Nawapaki village of Kishtwar and a father-daughter duo of Banihal are reportedly missing after the snowstorm on Saturday. Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed tried to reach Srinagar from Jammu, but his aircraft could not land due to bad weather. Though the state government claimed to have sufficient stock of essential commodities like kerosene and cooking gas, yet there was scarcity of food and other essential commodities in the Valley. Mohammed Sidiq of Batmaloo in Srinagar said, 'We are not being able to get milk for infants. The IAF has reportedly agreed to airlift vegetables for the Valley on Monday.' Northern Command chief Lt Gen Hari Prasad said at a press conference that the Army, Air Force and the civil administration are constantly monitoring the situation. Army is providing food and shelter to those in need and providing all assistance required by the civil administration, said a defence spokesman. Muzaffar Ahmed, director of health services, denied reports of deaths taking place due to non-availability of medical aid. He said arrangements had been made to keep ambulances ready for any emergency. All roads connecting the major towns the Valley were closed although the divisional administration pressed 37 snow clearance machines into service. Talking to TOI, the chief engineer (roads and buildings) said major roads in the capital were cleared of snow, enabling traffic to resume on Sunday afternoon. But Mumtaz Jahan of Rajbagh said there was no clearance of snow on the roads in her area.