Srinagar: Even as night temperature at a few places in Kashmir continued to stay below the freezing point, the Valley today witnessed a bright sunny day, giving a feel of early arrival of spring which usually starts by March-end.
The sprouting of plants and blooming of some flower varieties, the signs of spring in Kashmir, have started at least one month ahead of the natural process due to favourable temperature.
However, the development has led to concern among farmers and environmentalists who fear that it could be an effect of climate change.
Apart from occasional snowfall ranging from moderate to heavy in the high altitude areas of the Valley, the plains including summer capital Srinagar virtually witnessed a snow-less winter, much to the concern of farming community, especially the orchardists.
“It is a cause of concern. Kashmir might face water scarcity during summer which can affect the agriculture output in the coming farming season,” an agriculture department official said.
The farmers are concerned as the below average snowfall and rains is expected to have an impact on the farming activities in the coming months.
Besides, the early blooming might result in shortfall in the produce as the fruit yielding flowers are weak and cannot survive in case hit by inclement weather.
“I have not seen such a dry winter in many years now. It does not augur well for the farmers of Kashmir,” said Mohammad Akbar, a farmer from Kanihama in Budgam.
The summer capital Srinagar experienced brief spells of snowfall on two occasions in the past two months but there was no accumulation of snow.
The ‘Chilai Kalan’, the 40-day harsh period of winter which begins on December 21, not only remained mostly dry but also witnessed mercury settling several degrees above normal temperatures.
Srinagar, where the minimum temperature dropped to settled at minus 0.1 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal during this part of the season, witnessed a bright sunshine for the third day today.
“The day temperature is expected to settle at around 18 degrees Celsius, eight notches above normal,” a spokesman of the MeT department here said.
He said the famous ski resort of Gulmarg, the star attraction for tourists visiting the Valley during winter, recorded a low of minus 3.5 degrees Celsius, almost the same as was recorded the previous night.
Pahalgam hill resort, which serves as the base camp for annual Amarnath yatra during summer, recorded a minimum of minus 3.9 degrees Celsius against yesterday’s minus 2.3 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said. PTI