Shopian: Continuous snowfall in Shopian district since Monday night buried roads under snow, with the existing snow clearance machines proving inadequate both in number and capacity to clear the roads. In the upper reaches of both Shopian and Pulwama districts, all the existing machines, except one, become dysfunctional or are unable to remove the snow where it snows more than 2.5 feet.
For the districts of Shopian and Pulwama there is a lone snow cutter machine which has the ability to remove snow even if over 10 feet, but given the size of the area that needs to be serviced, the work of one machine is almost negligible.
A senior official from the Mechanical Engineering Department told Kashmir Reader that with the existing machinery and depth of continuous snowfall, they are unable to even clear the main Pulwama to Pampore road. “It is a disaster,” the official said. “We cleared snow on the said road ten times since morning but continuous dense snowfall choked it again.”
In Shopian almost all roads are covered with thick snow. All efforts, according to officials, turn futile as the continuous snowfall buries the roads again and again.
“Our infrastructure is outdated. With every year more and more snow is being witnessed but there are still the same outdated machines which were there before the 1990s,” said an official deputed on snow clearance work.
For the two districts Shopian and Pulwama, there are a total of 18 machines, half of which are meant to clear only less than two feet of snow.
Assistant Executive Engineer, Mechanical Engineering Department, for Shopian and Pulwama, Fayaz Ahmad told Kashmir Reader, “We have deployed all the machinery and staff but the intensity of snow is much more than can be handled.”
When asked why the department is not utilising snow cutters, he said there is only one snow cutter and its speed is so low that it takes an hour to clear snow on a single kilometre of road. “We have already written to higher authorities for snow cutters,” he said.
Meanwhile, drinking water supply continued to remain disrupted in many parts of Shopian district on Tuesday as well. Habeel Iqbal, a resident of the main town, said that people are melting the snow for drinking water purposes.
Executive Engineer, Jal Shakti department, Irfan ul Islam told Kashmir Reader that 98 percent of the water supply services have been restored, but problems persist. “The continuous snowfall has receded the water in Rambiara rivulet, which may lead to disruption of services,” he said.
Electricity supply has been restored in the town area of Shopian but most other areas of the district are reeling in darkness.
Shopian district had received about 4 feet of snow by Tuesday afternoon and this would likely increase with more snowfall occurring.
Meanwhile, two cowsheds were partially damaged at Awend and Saidpora villages of the district due to snowfall, but no loss of life was reported.