Untimely snowfall disrupts life in Valley, parts of Jammu - watsupptoday.com
Untimely snowfall disrupts life in Valley, parts of Jammu
Posted 05 Nov 2018 10:58 AM

SRINAGAR/JAMMU: Record-breaking snowfall has thrown life out of gear in Kashmir and parts of the Jammu region with widespread damage to apple and other crops in the Valley, Doda and adjoining districts in Chenab Valley with farmers and orchardists fearing huge financial losses.
Most part of Kashmir remained powerless since Saturday snowfall has also led to cancellation of several flights from Srinagar Airport. Airport officials announced a list of the cancelled flights and diverted flights to Jammu Airport on their official Twitter handle.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was opened for one-way traffic this afternoon, a day after it was closed due to heavy snowfall and landslides, officials said.
The untimely snowfall has also led to severe traffic jams with many roads blocked and several areas cut off. There is also water-logging in most parts of the city.
A nine-year-old girl was killed and three members of a nomadic family were injured when a landslide struck their tent in Rajouri District, a police official said.
A Bakarwal family had set up a ‘Dera’ (tent accommodation) at Chatyar village near a shrine which came under a landslide triggered by incessant rains at around 11.30 PM on Saturday, he said.
Shabina Kousar died on the spot, while three members of her family were critically injured and were taken to a hospital.

The nomadic Gujjars and Bakarwals have begun their bi-annual seasonal migration from the higher reaches of Kashmir to summer zone Jammu last month owing to early snowfall this season but have set up temporary accommodations at various places due to inclement weather.
Heavy rains lashed wide parts of the Jammu region, while some high altitude areas experienced moderate to heavy snowfall over the past three days.
The operation along the Jawahar Tunnel, and Qazigund and Banihal-Ramban stretches was launched around 5:00 AM on Sunday, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Anita Sharma said.
It took almost nine hours for workers to clear the road for one-way traffic, she said.
In a major overnight rescue operation, over 700 stranded passengers were evacuated from both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, a police spokesman said.
The SSP said they were Jammu-bound commuters and were rescued from the Kashmir-side of the Tunnel and the Verinag Zing area, where more than one-foot of snow had accumulated.
The evacuated people, including tourists, were accommodated in shelter sheds, religious places and sarais in Banihal’s Nowgam and Gund areas, and in Qazigund, he said.
In addition, 1,000 civilians, who were stuck in other parts of the highway, were also provided food and shelter in Banihal by police and the civil administration, the spokesman said.
The SSP said stranded passengers who were evacuated from the Jawahar tunnel area and brought to Banihal late Saturday night, were allowed to move towards Jammu on Sunday.
Snow clearance operation are still underway at some areas of the highway, Sharma said.
The 270-km highway was closed for vehicular traffic on Saturday evening after heavy snowfall in Qazigund-Jawahar tunnel sector coupled with landslides at Pantiyal, Ramsoo, Digdol and Battery Cheshma along the Banihal-Ramban stretch due to incessant rains.
The officials said snow clearance operations have also started along the Mughal road, connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu with south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
They said about four-feet of snow had accumulated on the ground in Peer Ki Gali area over the past couple of days. Over 120 people, mostly truckers, were rescued after they got stranded in the high-altitude area on Saturday, the officials said.
“The snow clearance operation was started Sunday afternoon following improvement in the weather. We are on the job and efforts are on to ensure early restoration of the road which usually remains closed during winter owing to heavy snowfall in Peer Ki Gali area,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (traffic) Mohammad Rafiq said.
“In the last two decades, it was only the fourth time that it has snowed in Srinagar in November with 2009, 2008 and 2004 being the earlier instances,” an official of the MeT Department said.
Political leaders have extended support to the farmers and asked the state government to take up assessment of losses and compensation for the ryots.
A large number of fruit-laden apple trees in Kashmir have either been uprooted or their stems have broken due to heavy snowfall on Saturday, an horticulture department official said.
The worst affected orchards are in Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Bandipora and parts of Baramulla districts, the official said.
The meteorological department in Bhadarwah has figures for only 20 years after its establishment and such a heavy snowfall in the first week of November had happened for the first time in the past two decades, meteorologist Ramesh Sharma said.
The snowfall in the inhabited areas, ranging from three inches to over three feet, was recorded in different areas of the district, forcing closure of Bhadarwah-Basohli highway, Kishtwar-Sinthan Top Road and Bhadarwah-Chamba interstate Road while many far-flung areas got cut-off, officials said.
The people complained about drinking water scarcity and virtual breakdown of electricity in majority of the villages.
“Bhadarwah Valley experienced heavy snowfall in 1978 but after November 15. I have never witnessed snowfall in first week of November in the last 40 years,” said Balwant Raj (62) of Panchayat Chinchora.
He said the early snowfall is not a good omen for farmers, cattle rearers and labour class as all the development and other construction works would be suspended till March, which means “we will get no work for five months and this a scary situation.”
Saif Din Dhakad, a farmer from village Kota Top-Kharangal of Bhallesa, said they were expecting a good yield this year as there was bumper maize crop but sudden and unseasonal snowfall shattered all their hopes as maize was still either in the fields or was kept on rooftops to dry but overnight snowfall on Saturday damaged everything.
Not only farmers and labour class but early snowfall also sent fruit growers in a tizzy.
“Due to overnight snowfall most of our orchards got damaged as the snow is not only unseasonal but quite heavier than normal,” Ahmed Mustafa of Upper Dhadhkai Bhallesa said.
He said normally pruning of fruit trees is performed in December after there is no leaf left on the trees because some variety of apple and walnut and persimmon only ripen by November end.
Horticulture Development Officer, Bhadarwah, Abid Hussain said they are assessing the damage caused by the snowfall.
“Some variety of apples and persimmon were still on trees. We have activated the field staff to assess the damage,” he said.
However, Hussain said the snow poses threat to only weak plants and would have no far reaching consequences.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Zohaib Hassan said the main highway connecting Doda with the rest of State is open for traffic.
“Moderate to heavy snowfall was recorded from Thanalla to Khundi-Maral stretch, Thantera to Sarthal and Potato farm to Sinthan Top stretch on Bhadarwah-Chamba interstate road, Bhadarwah-Basohli highway and Kishtwar-Sinthan Top road respectively, due to which these roads have been closed for all type of vehicular traffic,” he said.
However, he said Bhadarwah-Doda, Batote-Kishtwar and Thathri-Gandoh roads are open for traffic.
Chattar Gala on Bhadarwah-Basohli highway and Padri Gali on Bhadarwah-Chamba interstate Road recorded three feet snow till 11:00 AM, while Kota Top received two feet, Dhadhkai 1.5 feet, Khanni Top 1.5 feet, Kansar one feet, Shankhoja eight inches, Chinchora seven inches and Bhadarwah town received three inch snow, the officer said.
“The revenue teams are inspecting losses at orchards and private property since early morning (Sunday) for prompt compensation and assistance,” Deputy Commissioner Bandipora Shahid Choudhary said.
Lauding the Bandipora administration, National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said other districts should follow the Bandipora administration’s lead.
“Other districts need to immediately deploy teams of revenue staff to assess the damage so that compensation can be disbursed,” Omar said.
Expressing sorrow over the farming losses, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti asked the State administration to assess the quantum of damage suffered by the horticulture industry which was in peak harvest season.
She also appealed to the Central Government to consider a package for the fruit growers whose produce had been lost due to the extreme weather conditions.

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