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Kashmir plains receive season’s first snowfall

Sgr-Leh highway closed, flight operations suspended, SMC gears up to dewater submerged roads

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Srinagar, Nov 03 : After higher reaches, the plains of the Valley also experienced season’s first snowfall on Saturday.

The incessant continued in the intervening night of Friday-Saturday while the plains witnessed season’s first snowfall today, bringing the temperature further down.
Earlier, the Met department had said that light rains or snowfall would occur at most parts of the Valley till November 3 evening.
The nightlong rains in the Valley have also submerged the most parts of Srinagar.
The higher reaches including the world famous tourist destinations, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam, and others experienced a heavy snowfall from Friday morning while as the plains received season’s first snowfall this afternoon.
Director MeT, Sonum Lotus told  that the weather conditions would improve from Sunday, saying that the light to moderate rains or snow may occur at higher reaches as well plains but there is a possibility of improvement in weather conditions from tomorrow.
He added that most parts of the Valley experienced season’s first snowfall, which they had already predicted.
The rains as well as snow have submerged the most parts of the Srinagar, thus leaving the pedestrians to suffer.
However, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in wake of heavy rain fall/snow fall had put its men and machinery on task to dewater the water logged areas in different parts of Srinagar city.
Dewatering exercise is personally being monitored by Commissioner SMC Peerzada Haffizullah that is being carried out in inundated areas including Hari Singh High Street,Lal Chowk, Batamaloo, Jehangir Chowk, Rajbagh and Jawahar Nagar, a statement issued to said.
Commissioner SMC along with the entire concerned staff has personally visited the dewatering stations and the inundated areas to take stock of situation.
He further passed on directions to keep control room fully functional so that general public can contact helpline ie 2474499 2470465 in case of reporting any submergence from their concerned areas.
In this context, Muzaffer Hussain Kakroo, Executive Engineer Mechanical City Drainage Division has been directed to ensure that all the 80 dewatering stations with 115 Mobile pumping units are fully functional along with the concerned staff to meet any eventuality.
He shall furnish the list of the staff along with their Mobile Nos deployed for operating the said equipments to Srinagar Municipal Corporation further stressed Commissioner SMC.
Besides, the Executive Engineer City Drainage Civil Division and Sewerage & Drainage Division has been directed to report to the said Control Room and ensure that all the Engineering staff along with other field staff remain present at their respective areas for avoiding any submergence problem.
Commissioner has also directed Ward Officers to furnish complete report regarding the snow clearance of roads, Lanes/By-Lanes, Water supply stations, Electricity supply stations, Ration Ghats, Hospitals and Sanitation after snow clearance within their respective ward jurisdictions on daily basis to the Nodal Officer 24×7 Snow Clearance Control Room SMC, who shall consolidate the same for onward submission to the divisional/district administration.
Meanwhile, the Untimely snowfall has brought damages to the fruit and orchards in North Kashmir.
Many orchardists called KNS saying their standing fruits have been damaged due to heavy snowfall besides causing extensive damages to their apple and other trees.
Meanwhile, the electricity has also got affected due to the rains and snow in Srinagar and other areas.
Besides, the rain and snowfall also resulted in the closure of roads here.
The Srinagar-Leh highway remained closed for third consecutive day today due to heavy snowfall at Zojilla pass.
Officials said that due to the accumulation of snow in tourist resort Sonamarg and Zojila Pass, the Srinagar-Leh highway was closed by the authorities for the vehicular movement.
Reports said that a large number of vehicles, including those carrying passengers, were stranded on both sides of the Zojila pass.
Moreover, the authorities also claimed to have rescued over 150 passengers from the historic Mughal road following its closure due to the heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile, the airlines here also decided to supend the operations in wake of the snowfall.
Flight operations were temporarily suspended at Srinagar airport due to bad weather conditions, officials told adding that Go Air has suspended the flight operations earlier and others also decided to suspend the operations.


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5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.

The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.

The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.

 

The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.

“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.

A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.

“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.

A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”

Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.

A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.

 

Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation

Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.

In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.

The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.

Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.

Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.

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Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today

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Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.

With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.

“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.

 

He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.

On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.

Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.

Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.

Jammu city recorded 5.3  degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

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Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.

Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.

The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.

 

A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.

Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.

This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.

Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.

In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.

A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.

“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.

The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.

Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.

A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.

He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.

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