Srinagar: The weather improved across Kashmir on Friday and the water level in the Jhelum, which had crossed the danger mark in Srinagar on Thursday, dropped below the danger mark. The day had begun with dense clouds hovering over the sky, but a brief spell of sunshine in the afternoon provided much relief to people worried about an imminent flood.
Officials of the Irrigation & Flood Control Department said that the water level in the Jhelum at two measuring points – Sangam in Anantnag and Ram Munshibagh in Srinagar – started receding after the rain stopped on Friday. The highest water level recorded at Sangam was on Thursday midnight at 22.10 ft, more than a foot above the level at which a flood is declared, but it dropped to 18.35 ft, almost two feet below the flood mark, at 8pm on Friday evening.
At Ram Munshibagh, where water level had gone up more than 2 feet above the flood mark on Friday morning, the level receded to 19.45 ft by 8pm but is still a foot above the flood mark.
At a third measuring point in Asham in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, where the flood mark is at 13 ft, water level was recorded at 12.83 ft late on Friday evening.
Chief Engineer, Irrigation & Flood Control, Mohammad Hanief told Kashmir Reader that the receding of water level is a good sign but the threat of flood is not over yet.
“The coming hours would be crucial,” he said. “If the weather remains fair during the next 24 hours, then we can heave a sigh of relief.”
A Meteorological Department official said that light rain and thunder showers would occur at isolated places across Jammu & Kashmir during the next 24 hours. He said there were chances of sunshine for intermittent periods on Saturday at most places in Kashmir. “Weather would remain dry from Sunday onwards for the next five days in Kashmir,” the official said.
On Friday, Srinagar received 1.4 mm of rainfall. The maximum temperature recorded was 10.3 degrees Celsius and the minimum was 1.9 degree Celsius.
Pahalgam received 11.4 mm of mixed snow and rainfall. Kokernag, Qazigund and Kupwara received 8.2mm, 3.6mm and 1.2mm of rainfall, respectively, on Friday.
The Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained closed for the third day due to fresh landslides and shooting stones, triggered by rain and snow, officials of traffic department said.
Hundreds of Kashmir-bound vehicles, particularly those carrying essentials, including vegetables, were stranded at Jammu, Udhampur and Nagrota due to closure of the highway. Empty trucks and oil tankers were stranded on this side of the Jawahar Tunnel.
Ladakh region remained cut-off from Kashmir as snow clearance was hampered due to fresh snowfall.
There was fresh snowfall on the historic Mughal Road that links Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region. The road is closed for the past four months.
Due to poor visibility, two flights scheduled in the morning were cancelled, but the rest of the 17 flights operated as per schedule. “Given fair conditions, all the flights scheduled for tomorrow would operate normally,” Director of Srinagar Airport said.
About a dozen residential structures were damaged and a minor boy was injured in a landslide at Dalgate area of Srinagar. As per reports, landslide occurred at Gagribal, in the foothills of Shankaracharya hill, in the wee hours, leaving three residential premises severely damaged. Nine other residential houses are reported to have suffered damage due to the landslide triggered by the rains.
A minor boy identified as Fabyan Javaid sustained head injuries and was shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Several areas of Srinagar city were still submerged due to water logging, which hampered civilian and traffic moment.
Normal life remained disrupted in the three districts of north Kashmir for the second day. Many areas were still submerged in accumulated rainwater and locals were seen holding demonstrations at places against the government for not clearing the roads of the water.
The body of a minor girl identified as Shabana, 10, daughter of Mohammad Saleem Mir of Payerpora area of Hyhama, Kupwara, was recovered two kilometres away from the spot where she drowned in a nearby nalla on Thursday evening.
Reports from Pattan said that the residential house of Ali Mohammad Malla collapsed under a mudslide in Kanloo area. Another structure was reported to have suffered damage in Sonam area from a landslide. Landslides triggered by incessant rains also damaged a few orchards and half a dozen residential structures in several other areas of Baramulla district, district information officer Ajaz Hussain Malik said.
Reports from Lolab area of Kupwara said that a local bridge at Kathpora village was washed away by flood water, cutting off several areas from the main town. The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road was again blocked on Friday when a heavy landslide occurred near Lagama and Paranpeela areas of Uri. The road was later cleared by the authorities and cross-border trade that was stoppedon Thursday resumed again. “65 trucks were allowed to cross the border from this side after we cleared the road,” station house officer (SHO) Uri Gulam Mohammad Rather said.
Reportedly, one mosque was partially damaged in Wadora area of Handwara from a landslide.
Two residential houses were damaged in Chontipora Mawar and Nowgam villages in two different incidents when giant trees fell over them. Naib Tehsildar Qalamabad, Gulam Nabi told Reader that three residential houses were completely damaged in the area while few other houses developed cracks.
Reports from Kandi, Rafiabad, Uri, Handwara and Kupwara areas said that several roads were cut-off following landslides. Residents of Kandi said that the only road that connects several areas with Baramulla town was damaged at Katyanwali, Gohan, Chardari and Sultanpora areas.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Nasir Ahmad Naqash on Friday ordered all Tehsildars, SDMs and other officials to stay at their headquarters to address the grievances of locals.
The Srinagar-Gulmarg road which was blocked on Thursday after a giant tree fell on it was made operational again on Friday.
Official sources said that the body of one of the two passengers who were in a Sumo taxi that fell into a river in Dandipora Kokernag area of Anantnag district, was retrieved on Friday. The taxi was travelling from Kokernag to Larnoo when it plunged into nalla Brangi on Thursday. The body of Mohammad Ashraf Chowhan from Gadwail Larnoo was retrieved, sources said. Six people were rescued soon after the accident, but the driver of the vehicle, Riyaz Ahmad, is still missing.
“The driver still remains missing and we will resume our search operations on Saturday morning,” said Tehsildar Kokernag Raashid Raina.
-With Mushtaq Ahmad, Shafat Mir