QRTs Deployed Around Frozen Dal Lake

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Srinagar: Authorities here on Thursday deployed SDRF personnel in the Dal Lake, which has frozen due to record low minimum temperature in Kashmir, to prevent people from walking on the frozen surface of the water body.

“Due to freezing temperatures, many water bodies in the valley, including the world famous Dal Lake have frozen. It has been observed that some people, particularly youth and children attempt to walk on the frozen water bodies,” Aamir Ali, Nodal Officer of the State Emergency Operation Centre, Srinagar said.

Ali said that moving on this thin layer of ice, particularly the Dal Lake, is very risky and can result in slips, falls, fractures and fatal injuries.

“When the thickness of ice is less than four inches, it is very unsafe to walk, or play and the ice can break resulting in drowning. There are many springs inside the Dal Lake and the ice is very thin at these spots and it’s difficult to spot these locations while walking or playing on the ice surface,” he said.

Ali said the district magistrate Srinagar has issued an advisory to dissuade people from walking, playing or moving on the frozen Dal Lake, as it is unsafe.

He said action will be initiated against anyone trying to violate these instructions.

“Quick Response Teams (QRTs) of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and River Police have been deployed in the Dal Lake, as a precautionary measure,” he added.

Srinagar recorded a low of minus 8.4 degrees Celsius on Thursday, which is the lowest since 1991 when the mercury plunged to minus 11.4 degrees Celsius.

‘It’s Dangerous’: Admin Sounds Caution

The authorities in Srinagar meanwhile advised people not to walk on the frozen surface of water bodies, especially the Dal Lake, underlining that it could be dangerous.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said that SDRF teams have been deployed to dissuade locals from taking such risky adventures.

“Walking on frozen #DalLake could be dangerous. Pl avoid it. (SDRF teams deployed for safety),” he said in a tweet.

Replying to him, a renowned doctor said that almost 50 per cent of drowning victims are children less than nine years old playing on the ice, reported news agency GNS.

“The majority of victims drowning while in vehicles, such as snowmobiles, are young adults less than 24 years old,” the doctor added.

Last night in Srinagar was coldest after 30 years as mercury settled to minus 8.4°C in the summer capital. It follows minus 7.8°C on the night earlier as a result of which parts of the Dal Lake and other water bodies have frozen.

The freezing of the Dal Lake also refreshes memories of times when the former prime minister of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad drove his jeep on the frozen lake almost six decades ago. It is said that Bakshi drove the jeep for about 20 minutes near the Hazratbal coast of the Lake, the flagship of Kashmir’s tourism.

As per locals, the Dal Lake wore a festive look then as people from all corners of the Valley cherished walking over the frozen crest which some people say was very thin.

In 2018, videos emerged that some boys were playing cricket on the fringes of the water body following which the then deputy commissioner Srinagar issued an advisory, asking people, especially youth, not to resort to such dangerous adventures. The police had underscored that it was not bravery to walk over the frozen parts of the lake as it could be fatal.

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