SRINAGAR: Kashmir’s capital received the season’s first major snowfall on Saturday, which blanketed the city and came coupled with heavy rain.
The Srinagar airport was closed for air traffic for the entire day. All flights to and fro were cancelled due to the bad weather conditions.
“Landing and take-off of flights are temporarily suspended for the day due to the bad weather and low visibility,” an airport official said.
More than 15 flights from the Srinagar airport were cancelled for the day.
The Srinagar-Jammu highway was reopened hours after Beacon authorities cleared a huge landslide at the Ramsoo area.
“Earlier due to the landslides in Digdol and Ramsoo areas amid snowfall and rains, the traffic was stopped for hours,” Liyaqat Hussain, an official at the Ramban Control Room, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that vehicle moment was slow due to the bad weather and the vehicles of the Darbar Move were being allowed to move first. The same would continue on Sunday as well, the official said.
The Meteorological (MeT) department predicted snowfall and rain in parts of Jammu and Kashmir for the next 24 hours.
“The weather is in no mood to relent. Snowfall will be witnessed in several higher and lower regions as well,” J&K Met Director Sonum Lotus said.
He said that most likely, dry weather will return for two to three weeks starting Monday.
Traffic moment in Srinagar suffered a gridlock in most of the city, including at Sonwar, Dalgate, Lal Chowk, Batamaloo, Khanyar, and Qamarwari, where huge traffic jams could be seen during the day.
According to reports, as soon as the snow started blanketing the city, commercial vehicles including taxis, mini buses, and auto rickshaws started disappearing from their usual routes.
Commuters said that the heavy snow blocked traffic moment and there was very little public transport available. “Mini buses started overloading passengers,” said Waseem Ahmad, a local commuter.
Commuters also complained that there was no traffic police deployed in several areas including at Lal Ded, Rajbagh, and Hyderpora.
Despite several attempts, the SSP Traffic could not be reached for his comments.
Power cuts also came along with the bad weather. City areas of Rajbagh, Sonawar, Dalgate, Batamaloo and others were without electricity for hours, residents said.
PDD Chief Engineer Hashmat Qazi said that the power breakdown was caused by the snow and heavy rain, which damaged electricity wires at many places.
“This happens in the winter season and we are doing our best to keep the homes lit,” he said.
For clearance of snow from roads, the Mechanical Engineering Department has planned to deploy 19 machines from Sunday, while nine machines have already been deployed on Saturday which are to work till the night, said Assistant Executive Engineer of the department, Owais Ahmad.
People in various areas of the old city complained of inundation of streets due to the snowfall and rain. Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Commissioner Peerzada Hafizullah told Kashmir Reader that they are working on the problem.
“We have deployed dewatering pumps and they are working round the clock. We faced some problems because the power supply was cut several times,” he said.
Hafizullah said they have appealed to the PDD to provide adequate power supply to run the dewatering pumps.
The district administration Srinagar has set up helpline numbers for the general public in case of emergency. The helpline numbers are of several departments, including the DC office Srinagar: 0194-2483229/0194-2477033/9419042342 and 7051112345; Fire and Emergency services: 0194-2479488/101/9419251908; Roads and Bridges; 0194-2311364/9419012257; Mechanical Engineering Department: 0194-2497458/9419747240; Power Development Department: 0194-2452001/9419019634.
The helpline numbers provided by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation are 0194-247449/94190-65735. In medical emergency, these helpline numbers can be called: 0194-2452498/9906540795, and for emergency regarding drainage, people can call 9419004480.