Season’s first snowfall sends Kashmir valley into ‘darkness’

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Srinagar: Heavy snowfall in Kashmir has caused unprecedented power breakdown in the valley. Since Saturday morning, most parts of the valley are without electricity. Officials say they are trying to restore power supply but to no avail.

Snowfall in Srinagar has also led to the cancellation of several flights at the city airport. Airport officials announced a list of the canceled flights and diverted flights to Jammu Airport on their official Twitter handle.

The untimely snowfall has also led to severe traffic jams with many roads being blocked and several areas being cut off. There is also water-logging in most parts of the city.

Snowfall has also caused massive damage to apple orchards causing huge losses to apple farmers.

Chief engineer electric maintenance Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi said the power outage was caused by the breakdown of major supply lines due to the fall of foliage laden branches on the supply lines.

“Due to disruption of transmission lines, our supply has come down to 80 megawatts instead of the usual 1300 megawatts of routine supply,” Qazi said.

He added that the entire manpower of the power development department is working on restoration of the transmission lines and grid stations.

Air and surface links between the Valley and the rest of the country also remained suspended.

Poor visibility forced suspension of all flights from the Srinagar airport since Saturday afternoon while heavy snowfall in the Jawahar Tunnel area closed the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Snowfall has also closed the Srinagar-Leh highway and the Mughal Road that connect the valley with the Ladakh region and the Rajouri district of the Jammu division respectively.

Inter district traffic was also affected as snow accumulation on the roads caused slippery conditions.

Authorities said nearly 500 people were rescued who had been caught in heavy snowfall in Peer Ki Gali on the Mughal Road and the Jawahar Tunnel area of Srinagar-Jammu highway.