Heavy snowfall paralyses life in Valley

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Highway closed, train service suspended, air traffic hit, exams postponed

SRINAGAR: Normal life was paralysed and Kashmir valley was virtually cut off from rest of the world due to heavy snowfall since Monday night. The unseasonal snowfall lead to the closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway, suspension of train and the air traffic and internet services.

A thick blanket of snow covered the capital city as it fell for almost whole day Tuesday. The melting snow led to deluging of almost all roads in Srinagar. The heavy snowfall also snapped electricity in many areas, including Lal Chowk, the commercial hub of the state. When this report was filed, many areas were reeling in darkness.

The snowfall also snapped mobile phone and internet services.    

The heavy snowfall also prompted the authorities to close the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu highway for traffic as the snowfall led to slippery road conditions at Digdool, Khooni Nallah, and Panthal, even as the officials of Beacon made hectic efforts to clear the highway. The closure of the highway left at least two hundred vehicles, including passenger vehicles and load carriers stranded at different locations along the mountaneous road.

“We have suspended traffic on the highway due to heavy snowfall last night. We have been able to clear most of the stranded vehicles, however, over a dozen vehicles, including passenger buses were stopped at Ramban due to landslides triggered by incessant rains and snow. Efforts are on to clear them,” a senior traffic police official said.

The continuous snowfall and poor visibility also led to the cancellation of all inbound and outbound flights from Srinagar Airport. The Banihal-Qazigund train service was also suspended due to bad weather conditions.

A police spokesman however said that most of the trains remained operational with minor delays in timings. S.P Railways Mohammad Zaid said that so far three trains 7:10 am, 1:28pm and 5:05 pm left from Banihal. Similarly three trains from Baramulla to Budgam viz 8 am, 11:15am and 1:45 pm have reached destination.

Srinagar recorded 1 ft of fresh snowfall till evening, while Qazigund recorded 1 ft, Pahalgam 3 ft, Kokernag  3ft, Banihal 1.5 ft, and Jawahar Tunnel 2.5 ft of snow. The minimum temperate in Srinagar was recorded at  0.0 degree Celsius.

Gulmarg recorded 1 ft of snow as the minimum temperature was recorded at minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded minimum temperature of  0.1 degree Celsius.

Meanwhile, the meteorological department has predicted more rains and snow across Jammu and Kashmir in the next 24 hours.

“Light to moderate snow/rain would occur at many places in Jammu and Kashmir,” an official of the MeT department said.

Meanwhile, Kashmir University in statement here said that it has postponed all exams including the PG-entrance examinations 2014 scheduled to be held on March, 11, 12 and 13 . Fresh dates for the postponed papers have already been notified and the rescheduled Date-Sheet is available on KU website www.kashmiruniversity.ac.in. However the venue of the examination centres shall remain unchanged, it said. 

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