SRINAGAR Snowfall on Thursday piled woes on people and caught government in its familiar inertia despite tall claims of preparedness.
Due to snowfall, there were large scale disruption in essential services as the Valley remained cut off for the second consecutive day as the Srinagar-Jammu Highway remained closed and flight services were cancelled at the airport here.
Srinagar received around 8 inches of snow and areas close to the Pir Panjal mountain range lie buried under heavy snow.
Few inches of snow in Srinagar and more in hinterland, however, exposed government's response to tackle the situation. Power got hit promptly due damages to lines at several places, leaving hundreds of people without electricity.
As things turned out, snow clearance missions were extremely tardy as many roads in Srinagar were clogged in snow and lots of vehicles were seen bumping into each other. Huge traffic snarls made matters worse and the administration seemed to be caught unaware.
The snowfall, which ranged between eight inches in Srinagar to nearly three feet in some areas of South Kashmir, has blocked many roads within the valley, the official said.
He said snow clearance operations were started before dawn and all vital routes were cleared by the time people ventured out for daily activities.
Social media was abuzz with videos depicting the difficulty faced by people due to snowfall. A video from Adoora village in Baramulla in which a pregnant woman is being carried to a hospital on a make-shift stretcher through knee-deep snow, has gone viral.
Many videos of cars slipping on the roads in the city have also been widely shared as the residents accused the administration of being unprepared even after MeT department forecast of heavy snowfall from 5-7 February.
Meanwhile, Kashmir remained cut off from rest of the world for the second consecutive day on Thursday due to heavy snowfall across the valley.
"Due to bad weather and heavy snowfall at Srinagar Airport, all flights were cancelled for today," an official of the Airport Authority of India said.
No flights were able to operate to and from Srinagar airport on Wednesday due to snowfall.
The traffic control department said the arterial Srinagar-Jammu road remained closed for the second day due to accumulation of snow around Jawahar Tunnel and landslides at several places in Ramban District.
"The traffic has been suspended on the highway due to piling on snow on either side of the tunnel and also landslides triggered by rains at several places, " the official of the traffic department said.
A fresh avalanche has struck near Jawahar tunnel on the valley side, blocking it's north portal, the official said.
He said a decision on resuming traffic will be taken only after snow and debrisof landslides is cleared and the weather improves.
Meanwhile, authorities have issued an avalanche warning of varying danger levels for 16 of the 22 districts of Jammu and Kashmir for the next 24 hours.
The Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE) issued high danger avalanche warning for Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kulgam and Kupwara districts in the valley while medium danger warning was issued for Poonch, Rajouri,Ramban, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Udhampur and Leh districts.
A low danger warning was issued for Kargil District.
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