Weather improves, stranded passengers rescued

Weather improves, stranded passengers rescued
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SRINAGAR: After a brief but intense spell of rain and snowfall, weather has begun to improve across Kashmir Valley. Sonum Lotus, Director of the Meteorological department in Kashmir, said on Sunday that the weather will remain dry for the next seven days and there will be gradual increase in temperature.
“There is no likeliness of rainfall or snowfall in any parts of the Valley for the next seven days,” Lotus told Kashmir Reader.
On Saturday, Kashmir received the season’s first major snowfall, which brought down maximum day temperature from 16.8 to 5.4 degrees Celsius. The heavy rain and snow also disrupted electricity supply in most parts of the Valley.
“The temperature will go up, but the weather will remain cloudy. There will be no rain or snowfall,” Lotus assured.
The ski resort of Gulmarg was the coldest place in Kashmir valley on Sunday, recording a low of minus 5 degrees Celsius.
Flights that were cancelled on Saturday at Srinagar airport also resumed today. All flights operated without any delay, an official said. Train services also resumed at regular schedules. Road traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was partially restored. Stranded vehicles were allowed to move towards their respective destinations on Sunday.
The Mughal Road, which links Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, continued to remain shut for the fourth day due to snowfall and slippery road conditions.
Meanwhile, more than a thousand passengers and truckers were rescued on the national highway, Mughal Road, and Srinagar-Leh national highway in the past 24 hours.
In view of inclement weather in the state, Jammu and Kashmir Police pressed into service men and machinery to provide assistance to people, particularly to stranded passengers in the snow-bound areas. Police personnel in such areas were helping the civil administration in mitigating the people’s difficulties.
Policemen rescued 700 stranded passengers from snow-hit areas near Jawahar Tunnel and Drass, a police official said. He said in a night-long operation, police in Kulgam evacuated 700 stranded passengers at Jawahar Tunnel.
“Passengers stranded at either side of the tunnel were evacuated and brought to Qazigund from the eastern side and to Banihal from the southern side. Also, 600 stranded civilians were evacuated from Banihal area and accommodated at Nowgam and Gund in shelter sheds, religious places, and sarais. More than 1,000 civilians were provided food and shelter in Banihal by police and civil administration,” the police official said.
He added that locals in the affected areas have been asked to inform the nearest police post for assistance. District Police SDRF personnel in Srinagar removed fallen trees from roads and helped the civil administration in restoring road connectivity, he said.
At Ganderbal, a stranded Tempo vehicle in which 26 passengers were travelling was rescued and shifted to a safer place, he said. Two truck drivers trapped at Drass were also rescued and shifted to a safer place.
Some stranded tourists were evacuated by Anantnag and Baramulla police from snow-bound areas at Cheeni Wuder and Gulmarg, the police official said.