SRINAGAR: The Kashmir valley and Ladakh region continued to remain under the grip of severe cold as the mercury remained below freezing point, affecting normal life.
There will be no respite from the chilly conditions during the next 24 hours though rain or snow are expected at isolated places after December 31.
Border town of Kargil and Leh in Ladakh region continued to shiver as the minimum temperature remained below minus 15 degree Celsius.
A Met department spokesman said here this afternoon that weather will remain dry and cold during the next 24 hours in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, during the subsequent four days there could be isolated rain or snow, he said.
After yet another chilly night, people woke up to a sunny morning, though the intensity of the heat was very low in the valley.
Dry weather after devastating floods in September has caused concern among the farmers and horticulturalists in the valley.
The weathermen said a number of Western Disturbances (WD) which developed in Arabian Sea turned weak when they reached the region with the result there was no rain or snow. However, in the upper reaches light to heavy snowfall was recorded in the upper reaches.
This year there was no snow on Christmas when people, mostly foreigners, used to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ at world famous ski resort of Gulmarg. However, guests were there but without snow this time.
Dry weather has resulted in cold related diseases, including chest infection, headache, cough and fever as long queues of patients, particularly minors and elders could be seen outside the medical shops and hospitals.
Doctors have warned children and elderly persons not to move out of their houses in the morning and evening when the temperature goes down to minus.
Control rooms set up to meet any snow challenge
Authorities have set up two control rooms (CRs) to meet any challenge in the event of snowfall on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
However, traffic jam for hours on the highway had become order of the day even when there was no snowfall, drivers travelling on the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country alleged.
Officials said for ensuring smooth traffic movement and necessary arrangements during approaching snow season in the district especially on the national highway, the preparation for combating any disaster reviewed in a high-level meeting of officers, chaired by Deputy Commissioner Anantnag Tasaduq Jeelani here today.
It was informed in the meeting that all the arrangements for ensuring smooth movement of traffic on national highway during snowfall have been finalised.
The arrangements for the stranded passengers in case of road blockade due to heavily snowfall have also been kept in place.
Disaster Management Centres established at Badragund, Levdore, Qazigund, Checkiwangund, Tool Post Lower Munda, Zig and Jawahar Tunnel have been fully equipped with necessary essentials including food grains, kerosene, LPG and firewood for the stranded passengers during heavy snowfall.
Anantnag Chief Education Officer was also directed to keep the educational institutions adjoining to the highway in a state of readiness so that these institutions can be utilised as shelter houses if and when the need arises.
It was further informed that the control rooms established at Qazigund and Khanabal will work round the clock during the snowfall and any kind of up-to-date information can be sought from them.
During the meeting the officers concerned apprised Deputy Commissioner that adequate arrangements have been kept in place for speedy snow clearance in the district for which required men and machinery has been kept in a state of readiness at designated places.
Driver and passengers alleged that traffic jam for hours on the highway has become a daily routine. They further alleged that some times drivers and conductors besides passengers themselves regulate traffic in the absence of traffic police officials.
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