February 2019 News

Govt's Winter Preparedness Claims Take Yet Another Hit

7 February 2019
Rising Kashmir
Rabiya Bashir

Srinagar: Heavy snowfall across Kashmir threw life out of gear after disrupting both air and surface connectivity for second consecutive day Thursday. Kashmir plains as well as higher reaches experienced heavy snowfall over the past 24 hours, closing all roads links including the Srinagar-Jammu highway. More than 5000 vehicles including the passenger vehicles, heavy trucks, oil tankers and light vehicles are stuck on the Srinagar-Jammu highway especially at the Udhampur stretch due to the heavy snowfall and four landslides at different places. SP Traffic Rural, Muzaffar Ahmad Shah told Rising Kashmir that the highway remained closed due to snow accumulation and landslides on Thursday. 'There are more than 5000 stranded vehicles on the highway. The maximum vehicles lie stranded from the Jammu side of the highway,' he said. Shah said it was very unfortunate that people had been stuck on the highway and were facing problems but frequent landslides and continuous snowfall had made the vehicular movement difficult. The officials at the Ramban unit of the Traffic department told Rising Kashmir that more than 1845 vehicles including trucks, oil tankers and passenger vehicles are stuck at Udhampur stretch, 65 oil tankers at Batote and 10 trucks and 15 light vehicles at Ramban area. 'Most of the vehicles are stranded at Udhampur. Around 52 passenger vehicles at stuck at Udhampur and Batote,' the official said. He said, as of now, the accumulated snow had not been cleared yet, as the continuous snowfall had hampered snow clearance work. 'The passengers who have been stuck at Udhampur stretch have been shifted to the Ramban market,' the official said. According to the officials, around 1015 trucks lie stranded at Flata, 250 trucks at Mansar road while 130 trucks and 250 oil tankers are stranded at Dhar road. In addition, 15 trucks are stranded at Jhakeni chowk in Udhampur and 20 light vehicles and 100 trucks are stuck in other areas. The official said, on Thursday, four landslides hit the highway at Anokhi fall, Panthyal, Gangroo, and Battery Chashma that blocked the highway. The Mughal Road and Srinagar-Leh road also remained closed for vehicular traffic today. Many inter-district roads are also not connected with Srinagar. The air traffic at Srinagar airport was also disrupted. 'All flights, to and fro Srinagar, were cancelled due to heavy snowfall, poor visibility and snow accumulation on the runway on Thursday,' an airport official told Rising Kashmir. With the cancellation of flights due to snowfall, hundreds of Kashmiri pilgrims who returned from Umrah from Saudi Arab are stranded at the Delhi airport. Around 22 families were shifted from an avalanche-prone area to safer locations following heavy snowfall in Gund tehsil of central Kashmir's Ganderbal district. The snowfall disrupted normal life and affected the movement of people and transport in Srinagar city and other districts of the valley. Authorities pressed men and machinery into service to remove snow from the roads and make the roads traffic worthy. Meanwhile, due to adverse weather conditions, the Srinagar district administration has issued helpline numbers for the general public in need of assistance. Deputy Commissioner, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah said the administration had been fully activated and that all line departments including MED, PWD, PHE, SMC, PDD, UEED, Traffic and Health were on the ground in efforts to restore the affected services. Shah said the concerned departments were under strict instructions to ensure swift snow-clearance and dewatering of all roads and lanes, especially those leading to important installations like hospitals and receiving stations. He said the Traffic department had been directed to ensure maximum Police deployment for effective handling of traffic situation and movement in the city. The DC said all the line departments had established control rooms for the convenience of the general public and all of them were under strict instructions to deploy adequate men and machinery on the ground and work in close coordination. He said Assistant Commissioner Revenue Srinagar and Sub Divisional Magistrates East and West had been designated as nodal officers to monitor the situation within their areas of jurisdiction.