Unusual winter bustle in Gurez due to near-zero snowfall and open highway

Unusual winter bustle in Gurez due to near-zero snowfall and open highway
  • 60

Bandipora: This year’s harshest part of winter has turned out to be unusual for the border residents of Gurez. Unlike being cut-off due to accumulation of a thick layer of snow on Bandipora-Gurez road, this year the road remained through. The routine migration that the residents choose to descend to the plains was largely postponed causing an unusual bustle in the region, located around 150 kilometers from Srinagar.
The region normally remains closed from the rest of the world for six months from November-end to May leaving the residents to occasional helicopter flights for communicating outside. However, this winter vehicles are plying and carrying passengers and supplies, which have kept the marketplaces bustling.
The climate has also affected the traditional lifestyle of the region during winter time. The residents are used to consume sundried vegetables and cereals, the stocks like wood, oil and gas are mainly stored for long winters as people don’t venture out much due to snowfall up to 10 feet in plain areas like tehsil headquarters of Dawar.
The situation maybe gleeful as it has given the residents a respite from the harshness of winter but they are equally worried for the lowest precipitation. They fear that the situation may not prove to be a good omen in summers when they would require water for irrigation purposes.
According to the local residents the region, last year at this time was under 6 feet snow. An elderly resident said that even as the life’s hustle and bustle looks pleasant, the thought of impending complications due to this situation creates deep anguish. “We pray there is enough snowfall soon,” he said.
“The overall snowfall during this Chilaikalan, the harshest period of winter has not been enough, we are worried about the scarcity of water, agricultural produce and far more power crisis in rest of the valley,” a local pointed out.
The lofty mountains of Gurez like Razdaan and Harmukh which fall in the Himalayan range of mountains and remain the source of numerous water bodies are depicting only patches of snow like other hilly areas which would remain buried under snow otherwise.
The data obtained by Indian metrological department has suggested that due to rise in temperatures, Kashmir has been witnessing a shift in direction of western disturbances by around 700 kilometers towards north. Against a normal 220 mm, snowfall-Kashmir has so far received only 27mm.
According to the officials at the Border Road Organization headquarters in Bandipora the road is open for traffic to Gurez up to Dawar with advisories as it (road) remains slippery at Razdan top. The guidelines for one-way traffic movement and other precautionary measures are taken care of.
Though the road was closed in December after heavy snowfall on the mountains, the 120,000 liters of diesel for generating electricity from generators, due to administrative callousness wasn’t dumped before time, forcing the administration to clear the road for traffic. However, the near zero snowfall has come as a blessing in disguise for the administration to fill the supply shortfall.