Cut-Off Valley Under Power Blackout

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Three Inches Of Snow Plunge Srinagar Into Darkness

SRINAGAR: With its air and surface links cut off by heavy snowfall overnight, most of Kashmir has plunged into darkness, with authorities claiming damage to power transmission lines and poles.

One to four feet of snow was reported from the plains and higher reaches of outlying districts, but large parts of Kashmir’s summer capital too remained without power on Friday after barely three inches of snowfall.

Angry residents in many areas of the city, including its densely-populated old quarter, said that authorities had switched off power on Thursday evening shortly after snowfall began.

According to reports, power supply was totally disrupted in 80 per cent areas in major towns and villages for the past 24 hours

PDD authorities here claimed that power had been restored in 70 per cent of the Srinagar city till afternoon, and that supply would be fully on by evening.

It would take one to two days to put most of the Valley back on line, but restoring power to remote areas could take longer, they said.

Power supply to North Kashmir had snapped off due to snags in its 320 KV transmission line, the PDD claimed.

The chief engineer of the PDD, Muzaffar Ahmad Mattoo, said that power supply in Srinagar and outlying towns had been stopped as a precautionary measure as broken transmission lines and poles could pose a risk to human lives.

He said that teams of engineers and field staff had been deployed on a war footing to undertake repairs.

The PDD came in for severe criticism from the public in Srinagar where many asked how VIP residences could have uninterrupted electric supply if damage to power lines was extensive as authorities claimed.

Meanwhile, the Srinagar-Jammu remained closed for the second day on Friday, and no flight operated to and from the Srinagar Airport due to bad weather and low visibility.

Though traffic authorities had said on Thursday that only a few vehicles which had crossed the Nagrota area near Jammu by 8 in the morning were allowed on the highway, a KNS report said that a large number of passenger and goods carriers were held up on Friday at the halting points of Banihal, Ramban, Ramsu, Batote, Patnitop and Kud.

Superintendent of police Manzoor Ahmad Laal said that continuing snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel had hampered road-clearing operations.

“Beacon personnel and the civilian administration made four attempts to open the road for traffic but were hampered by bad weather conditions,” the police officer said.

“We also tried to open the railway track from Banihal to Lower Munda, but could not succeed due to slippery conditions,” he said.

Authorities in Srinagar said that over a hundred snow-clearing machines had been deployed across the valley to open road links in the districts.  

Reports suggested that main inter-district routes were yet to be fully cleared.

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