April 2017 News

Jhelum, Tributaries Cross Danger Mark; Schools Closed

6 April 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: A girl was killed and five persons including three Army men are missing as incessant rains for last three days has led to floods in Kashmir with river Jhelum and its tributaries flowing above the danger mark. The low lying area of Srinagar and other parts of Valley have been inundated and the people living near the Jhelum and its tributaries have been asked to remain vigilant. Heavy rains lashed Kashmir valley since last night and here it was snowfall in the morning, after a decade in the month of April. While upper reaches like Gurez, Zojila, Pahalgam and Gulmarg received 1 to 2 feet snowfall. The plains of the Valley also received moderate snowfall and were lashed by heavy rains. River Jhelum crossed the danger mark tonight. As per Flood and Irrigation Department at 11 pm, the water level of river Jhelum at Ram Munshi Bagh gauge was 19.15 feet, Sangam 21.65 ft and Asham 10.91 feet. The water level of Vishow Nallah at Khudwani was 7.43 meters, Rambiyara Nallah at Wachi was 2.26 meters and Lidder Nallah at Batkoot was 1.01 meters. The low-lying residential areas of Srinagar including Bemina, Jawahar Nagar, HMT, Qamarwari, Padshahi Bagh got water-logged since morning and the water entered residential houses. The commercial hub Lal Chowk also was water-logged. Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Fire and Emergency Services Department pressed water pumps and Fire Engines into service to dewater many roads including Lal Chowk, Regal Chowk and Residency Road areas. Srinagar based Defence spokesman, Lt Col Rajesh Kalia said here that unprecedented snowfall triggered multiple avalanches . A post in Batalik sector was buried. 'Two out of five soldiers have been rescued. Rescue operation for three soldiers is in progress. Specially trained and equipped Avalanche rescue teams have been employed', he said. SSP Kupwara, Shamsher Hussian told Excelsior that a girl, Shabana, 10, daughter of Mohammad Shafi of Payer Pura, drowned and was washed away by a stream at village Payer Pura in district Kupwara today. He said that dead body was recovered after hectic efforts by Police at a distance downstream and handed over to her family after completing legal formalities. Police along with the officials of SDRF and Fire and Emergency rescued five persons from the Brangi Nallah in Kokernag area of Anantnag district. Anantnag police was informed that a Tata Sumo skidded off the road and fell into the Barangi Nallah at Dandipora, Kokernag. 'Following this information, a police party of police station Kokernag alongwith the officials of SDRF-fire & emergency immediately reached the spot and launched rescue operation, a police spokesman said here. Five passengers identified as Mohammad Abdullah Wani son of Lassi Wani resident of Bidhad, Irshad Ahmad Khan son of Mohammad Yousuf resident of Gadool, Nuzhat Bano wife of Bilal Ahmad Bhat resident of Watnad, Shaheena Jan daughter of Bilal Ahmad Bhat resident of Watnad and Fasal Ahmad Bhat son of Bilal Ahmad Bhat resident of Watnad were rescued and shifted to Sub District Hospital Kokernag for treatment. Police said that two persons who were also travelling in the vehicle are yet missing and efforts are on to trace them out. In North Kashmir's Pattan, Delina, Tarzoo Sopore, residents were evacuated from their respective areas as water entered their houses. In South Kashmir, half-a-dozen diversions were washed away while people from many flood prone villages shifted to safer places. Police said it shifted some families from Sopore and Kupwara to the safer locations after inclement rains and snowfall led to the water-logging and increase in the water levels in these areas. Besides, police provided its helping hand to the people and their vehicles stuck due to snowfall in Kupwara and Baramulla. SSP Kupwara said that after the unprecedented snowfall -heavy rain in the district many areas got inundated besides road connectivity was also affected. District Police administration has mobilized all its men and machinery to come to the rescue of civilians who got affected due to natural fury. A Police party rescued 11 families from village Kawari who were trapped in the inundated areas to safer locations. Police Party from Police Station Kupwara headed by DySP Hqrs Fayaz Geelani has cleared hundreds of vehicles which were stranded due to slippery road by heavy snowfall. Police party also removed many fallen trees from the highway and cleared the road for movement of traffic. In Lolab areas, many police teams were constituted under the supervision of DySP Lolab Sarfaraz Bashir. The police parties remained on move and rescued many civilians from inundated areas at different locations beside restoring the road connectivity. In Sopore, Police shifted people from some areas of Tarzoo, Panzipora, Hygam, Dangiwacha and Behrampora to safer locations. These people were trapped because of the increase in water level of Khursi Nallah. Police in Baramulla also launched rescue and road clearance operations. The roads which were blocked by the uprooted trees were cleared and the vehicles which were stuck due to snow fall were provided helping hand. A defence spokesman said Army troops deployed at various places in Kashmir carried out rescue operations in a number of areas and evacuated people to safer places. Working shoulder to shoulder with locals residents, people were rescued from areas in vicinity of Amargad, Ningli, Hamre and Zangam in North Kashmir. 'At Zangam, an Army column was rushed to village Kripalpur Pain, where the overflowing Nala had breached the bund and created potential danger of inundation of low lying areas. The column with the help of local people arranged stones to the stop further breach. Simultaneously the breach was plugged with layers of sandbags. The Army columns are on standby and patrols have contacted people residing in low lying areas to give a sense of assurance and security', the spokesman said. A two-storey residential house was completely damaged after it was hit by a walnut tree at Batpora Drung village of Khag tehsil in central Kashmir's Budgam district on this afternoon. A walnut tree fell over the residential house of Nazir Ahmad Para, damaging it completely. However, the family escape unhurt. Three persons were injured after a poplar tree fell on a vehicle at Sangrama on Srinagar-Baramulla highway in north Kashmir on today. The injured were shifted to District Hospital Baramulla for treatment. Government on today announced that all schools and colleges in Kashmir would remain closed till Monday in view of the inclement weather. 'Due to incessant rains, all schools and colleges in Kashmir valley would remain closed until Monday,' said Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. Kashmir University today postponed all examinations scheduled for today. 'All Kashmir University examinations scheduled to be held on April 6, 2017 (Thursday) are postponed. Fresh dates for the deferred examinations shall be notified separately, later,' said a spokesman. 'Further, the last date for submission of hard copies of PG entrance examination forms is extended up to and including Saturday (April 8, 2017).' Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) Awantipora University postponed all examinations scheduled for today. 'In view of inclement weather, all the examinations scheduled today on 06-04-2017 at Islamic University of Science and Technology Awantipora have been postponed. New dates will be notified separately,' said a spokesman of the varsity. However, Walk in Interview scheduled for today shall be held as per schedule. Divisional Administration Kashmir today issued an avalanche warning for next 24-hours for hilly and avalanche prone areas of Kashmir valley and Kargil district. 'High danger avalanche warning valid for next 24-hours from April 06 to April 07, 2017 exists for avalanche prone slopes of Kargil. While as medium danger avalanche warning exists for Kupwara, Bandipora, and Baramulla districts of Kashmir Division during the same period,' a statement of the Divisional Administration said. Accordingly, all concerned Deputy Commissioners have been asked to take precautionary measures in their respective districts and advise people not to venture in avalanche prone areas during the aforementioned period and monitor the situation regularly to avert any untoward incident. Meanwhile, Director Meteorological Department Sonam Lotus said here: 'Since the morning of 4th April, most places of J&K has been receiving continuous moderate to heavy rain and snow(since today morning in Srinagar & surrounding areas). As expected, higher reaches received heavy snowfall with Gulmarg reporting 1 feet this morning and snow in whole Ladakh region'. 'Snow in April in plains of Kashmir is not a frequent or annual phenomena but not unusual either as on earlier occasion also there has been snow in April-May as well. Rainfall for continuous 2-3 days brings down the temperature and this led to snow in plains.' Lotus said that there will be gradual decrease in rain and snow from today and significant improvement from tomorrow (occasional light rain on 7th can't be ruled out ). He said that the weather system still persists over the State and is moving towards North East of Srinagar,' he said. 'Since the system is weakening, a flood of the magnitude of 2014 won't arise. So please keep cool, be vigilant and stay safe and don't get panicked', he said. Meanwhile, incessant rains, hailstorm and untimely snowfall have brought miseries to the orchardists of Kashmir as lakhf of trees have been damaged across the Valley and drop in temperatures has led to damage to the fruit. The orchardists at well-known fruit producing areas including Rafiabad, Zaingeer and Sopore in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, Shopian and Kulgam districts of South Kashmir have suffered extensive damage because of the incessant rains and snow. The orchardists' said the incessant rains and heavy snowfall since April 3 have caused damage to Apple, Apricot and Almond crop in Valley and that this weather onslaught will ultimately affect the final produce. 'Apart from snapping several fruit trees the rains and snow have affected the blossoms as well'. 'The fallen blossoms will affect the quality of fruit and the produce. The temperature has also dropped which is also fatal for the crop at this time of the year. The loss can be rectified if temperature improves in coming days but if the situation persists the overall production will get dented,' said Dawood Ahmad, a Baramulla resident. He said the areas where apple orchards suffered maximum damages are Watergam, Dandoosa, Chitloora, Lorihama, Achabal, Marazigund, Behrampor, Hib Dangerpora, Drusoo, Lyser and Chijhama. 'Heavy snow also damaged orchards in the Ushkra and Kandi belt of Baramulla,' Dawood added. In South Kashmir, the highest almond producing areas including Wahibugh, Goosu, Newa and Parigam have suffered extensive damages in the almond trees and the orchardists fear low production in this year. 'The hailstorm hit trees don't produce quality fruit and demand for such fruit is also low. The fruit don't attain desirable size and taste, which affects the overall returns,' Ghulam Rasool, a local added. He further said at the place like Sedov, Wanpov and Shirmal in South Kashmir's Shopian district, the apple trees have received extensive damages. 'These areas produce major chunk of apple production in Kashmir which means the damages to trees will hit the total production,' he said. Meanwhile, locals from North Kashmir's Gurez area said fresh snowfall has damaged swatches of apple and almond orchards at several places. 'At least two feet snow has accumulated in our area which has damaged our orchards. The places including Dawar, Mastan, Markoot, Achoora, Khandyal, Wanpora and Badwan have been severely hit,' they added.