Snowfall, rains lash Kashmir; Highways closed for traffic, flight ops disrupted
Srinagar, Dec 12 (GNS): Five army soldiers went missing after their posts in Nowgam and Gurez sectors of north Kashmir’s Kupwara and Bandipora district were hit with avalanches and landslides respectively today as Valley received snow and rainfall, leading to closure of National Highways and disruption of flight operations.
Official sources told news agency GNS that an avalanche struck Nani Post of army’s 36RR in Baktoor area of Kanzalwan in Gurez sector late last night during snowfall. He said due to avalanche, three soldiers went missing. A search operation was started but there is no trace of these soldiers, the sources added.
In another incident, a landslide struck Patila Post of Army’s 20 Dogra regiment in Nowgam sector of Handwara in Kupwara district, also during late last night. Sources said that the landslide at Nowgam sector left two soldiers missing. “At both places, rescue operations are underway but so far there is no success. The soldiers are feared to be dead but efforts are on to trace them,” the sources added.
Meanwhile, major parts of Kashmir including in summer capital Srinagar received heavy to moderate to light snowfall, affecting normal life, air and surface traffic. The summer capital Srinagar received season’s first snowfall and according to the MeT Department, the city recorded 2 inch snowfall until morning. The plains and higher reaches of Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Budgam and Bandipora also received snowfall.
There was heavy snowfall in Shopian district, where one feet of snow had accumulated in the main town in the morning. The upper reaches of the district also recorded heavy snowfall. The snow accumulation in Qazigund was 6-7 inch and one foot at Jawahar Tunnel along Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Nearly 2.5 feet of snow was recorded in Sonamarg in Ganderbal district. The Pahalgam and Gulmarg tourist resorts also received moderate snowfall.
Due to inclement weather, the Srinagar-Jammu Highway (NH) remained closed for traffic today. According to officials of Traffic department, the road was closed due to snowfall, slipper conditions, landslides and shooting stones at different areas of the Highway, particularly from Qazigund to Ramban. Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan today advised intending passengers not to undertake journey on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway till it is cleared for traffic.
“It has come to our notice that a large number of passengers are boarding the Baramulla-Srinagar-Banihal train, with the intention of travelling by road from Banihal to Jammu. Such passengers are getting stranded at Banihal, thereby causing inconvenience to them, as the National Highway is presently closed, due to snowfall,” he said. He appealed people to avoid travel towards Jammu, by road or by train, till the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway reopens.
The traffic on Srinagar-Leh Highway also remained suspended today due to heavy snowfall. Officials said that one foot snow had accumulated at Drass in Kargil district. The Mughal Road, connecting Kashmir with Jammu via Poonch, also remained shut due to heavy snowfall. Similarly, the officials said, the Bandipora-Gurez in north Kashmir also remained shut. They said that the Gurez received heavy snow for second consecutive day.
The flight operations at Srinagar International Airport were disrupted today morning due to poor visibility, officials said. After snow and rains, there was some improvement in weather today in the afternoon in most parts of the Kashmir. The weather is expected to improve from tomorrow evening, the MeT officials added.