DC monitoring snow clearance, restoration of essential services: Official
Shopian: Snow clearance from roads and streets is proving impossible in the absence of adequate machines in Shopian district, amid continuous snowfall since Friday noon which has completely disrupted road connectivity, power and drinking water supply in many areas.
All transport remained off the roads on Saturday due to the accumulation of snow on roads as no machinery was available to clear the snow in many areas of the district.
According to locals, despite the urgent need of snow clearance in high-altitude areas, the machinery was deployed in Zainpora area despite low intensity of snowfall there.
At many places, people came out of their houses either to help their neighbours in taking patients to hospital or for removing trees that had fallen on electricity transmission lines.
The upper parts of the district received more than two feet of snow while lower belts witnessed up to 1.5 feet of snow, according to reports.
An official from the Mechanical Engineering department told Kashmir Reader that the district has only 11 snow clearance machines and most of them are small machines, called snow cats, which are unable to remove the dense snow that accumulates after falling down from roofs of houses.
Mir Irfan, Assistant Executive Engineer at the Mechanical Engineering department, said that till Saturday evening, 80 percent of priority-first roads were cleared of snow and about 30 percent of priority-second roads were also cleared. He said that the snow clearance operations will be continued for the whole night.
“We are hopeful that all roads will be cleared till Sunday 10am, provided the snowfall stops,” he said.
Mir said that the department would have cleared more roads if they were not forced to deploy machinery for rescue of pregnant ladies and patients on dialysis and cancer patients.
Locals, however, accused the authorities of using substandard machinery for snow clearance even though the district receives heavy snowfall. “They are using small tractor-based machines which are less capable of removing snow from roads. Hence, the roads don’t become motorable,” said Jahangir Ahmad, a resident of Trenz area.
Though most of the far-off and high-altitude areas remained without electricity services on Saturday, the services were restored in the town area and villages near receiving stations. At some places, locals provided a helping hand to Power department staff in restoration of electricity services.
In Shopian town, the Municipal Committee was seen in action for the first time, after a dozen distress calls were received at the municipal office.
Suhail Ahmad Malik, Executive Officer of the Municipal Committee Shopian, told Kashmir Reader that all the emergency services were restored in the town and night-long snow clearance operations will be carried out. He said that till Sunday afternoon, all streets and lanes of town will be cleared of snow.
“We have hired about 60 persons to remove snow from streets and machinery has been deployed to clear the roads in the town,” he said.
Water supply remained disrupted in Trenz, Turkwangam, Molu village in Imamsahib Tehsil, Chitragam Tehsil, and areas of Zainpora as well, reports said.
An official spokesperson said that Deputy Commissioner Shopian Sachin Kumar Vaishya personally monitored the snow clearance operations on Mughal Road, Heerpora besides inspecting the functioning of District Hospital Shopian.
“On the directions of DC Shopian, SDM, Zainapora and all the Tehsildars have swung into action and geared up men and machinery for snow clearance to facilitate the movement of people,” it said.
Vaishya also visited several remote villages of the district to take stock of the snow clearance operation and the status of delivery of essential services, the official said.
He also took stock of power supply scenarios, availability of drinking water and healthcare services available in the Public Health Centers.