1-2 Feet Snowfall At Banihal Keeps Highway Shut

SRINAGAR — Intermittent snowfall and low visibility has cut off the valley from rest of the world as Srinagar-Jammu Highway remained while air traffic was disrupted with many flights cancelled, officials said.

The Srinagar-Jammu Highway has been closed for traffic due to accumulation of snow around Jawahar Tunnel in Qazigund area and landlsides at Anokhi fall in Ramban district, an official of the Traffic Department.

“Highway have witnessed fresh snow 1′-2′ feet at Banihal-Qazigund stretch due to which the road has been blocked. Further the rainfall in Banihal- Ramban stretch has also lead to landslide/shooting stones at many places like Anokhi fall, Kela Mode, Panthal etc,” the official said.

In view of the inclement weather as well as present road conditions, he said, the stranded passengers  are advised not to travel on highway especially between Ramban to Qazigund. “The stranded vehicles would be allowed to proceed towards their destinations once the road is cleared,” he said, adding, “In view of the rain/snow in plains and other towns of the state, due to which the roads have become slippery, the general public is also  advised take necessary precautions so as to avoid accidents and unnecessary road congestions.”

The closure of the road has resulted in shortage of essentials like cooking gas and eatables including vegetables and mutton, local residents claimed.

The prices of vegetables and other eatables have risen sharply over the past few days, Farooq Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Sarai Bala, said.

Officials of the Divisional administration maintain that some trucks, which were stranded along the highway, have been able to reach here over the past two days.

“The supplies have reached, we have enough stocks of essentials. There is no need to panic,” a senior official said.

The snowfall, coupled with poor visibility also has forced cancellation of many flights scheduled for Thursday.

Srinagar has witnessed the cold wave breaking nearly three-decade old record as mercury plunged to minus 7.8 degrees Celsius on 27 December 2018. It recorded a low of minus 8.8 degrees Celsius in 1990, which still is a record low in past 30 years.

Gulmarg and Pahalgam, the two famous tourist resorts in the valley, saw the mercury sliding up to 15 degrees Celsius below the freezing point during Chillai-Kalan.

In Ladakh division there was not much change in night temperatures across the valley compared to the previous night.

The weatherman has forecast more rain or snowfall in the valley over the next few days, with chances of precipitation lesser on Saturday and Sunday.

According to MET department officials, ‘Chillai-Kalan’ which ended on Thursday was harshest in more than a decade and the cold wave is expected to continue in Kashmir as the valley has entered the 20-day period Chillai-Khurd (small cold) which will be followed by 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).

 ‘Destroy Deteriorated Food Items Forthwith’

Commissioner food safety, Dr. Abdul Kabir Dar today issued an advisory for Food Business Operators (FBOs) in view of frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway due to adverse weather conditions.

The FBOs have been asked to destroy deteriorated food items forthwith.

 “There may be apprehensions that food products especially fruits and vegetables, perishable food items that were in transit may get deteriorated. All the stakeholders especially FBOs dealing with of livestock, fruit, vegetables and perishable food items are advised to ensure that deteriorated food items, if any, are destroyed on spot,” the advisory reads.

The advisory directed the designated officers and the enforcement staff of the districts viz, Kulgam, Anantnag, Pulwama and Srinagar to keep close vigil on the movement of vehicles transporting different food articles on the national highway and adjoining areas to the valley in order to check the quality of food.

“Any stakeholder found violating the Standards, Quality and Safety of Food shall be dealt with strictly as per the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006,” the advisory said.

The general public has been asked to be watchful and contact the enforcement staff of the Commissionerate in case of a complaint regarding the quality of food available in the markets on 0194-2495191 or email at [email protected].

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