Another avalanche blocks JT, Sgr-Jmu highway closed; MeT predicts weather improvement from today
Two persons including a minor girl died when they came under an avalanche in Trigam village of Ramban district while two others went missing on Tuesday.
A snow avalanche hit Kawana area near Trigam village at 3 pm today, resulting in the death of 25-year-old Muhammad Rafiq and 12-year-old girl Sumerna.
Two women, Fatha Begum, 30, and Taja Begum, 32, went missing after the avalanche.
An official said the avalanche hit the village when all the four persons were heading toward their home in Trigam, 50 km from Ramban in Khardi tehsil.
He said the rescuers were trying to locate the two missing women.
The official said Deputy Commissioner Ramban sanctioned an ex-gratia of Rs 4 in favour of each of the next of kins (NoKs) of the deceased.
Meanwhile, traffic on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway was suspended after a snow avalanche blocked both the tubes of Jawahar Tunnel on Qazigund side.
According to the officials of the Traffic department, due to the continuous snowfall along the Banihal-Qazigund stretch, an avalanche struck Jawahar Tunnel area around 4:25 am, blocking the traffic movement.
There was no report of any loss of life or injuries.
The area has been witnessing heavy snowfall for the past several days.
Besides snow accumulation, landslides hit the strategic highway at some places in Ramban district, including Digdol, Panthal, Magarkote and Khoni Nallah.
SP Traffic Rural, Muzaffar Ahmad Shah told Rising Kashmir that Srinagar-Jammu highway remained closed for traffic.
“Due to the avalanche and heavy snow accumulation at different stretches of the highway, there was no vehicular movement," he said.
Shah said the highway would remain closed till the snow clearance.
“The snow clearance has been started. It is going on at the avalanche site. By January 23, if the snow will be cleared, then the highway will be thrown open for the stranded vehicles only,” Shah said.
Due to closure of the highway, hundreds of passengers are stranded on the highway at Banihal and other parts of Jammu regon due to the closure of roads and they have demanded authorities to open the highway for vehicular movement at an earliest.
Meanwhile, rains continued to lash the plains while higher reaches witnessed fresh snowfall in Kashmir for the second day Tuesday as the Valleyites continued to get some respite from the intense cold wave conditions.
Director Meteorological department, Kashmir, Sonam Lotus told Rising Kashmir that there would be significant improvement in weather from Wednesday.
“Weather may remain cloudy, but there will be no rain or snowfall from Wednesday. There will be a gradual increase in day temperature and fall in the night temperature,” he said.
Lotus said, as per the present forecast, there was no further prediction of rain or snowfall across the Valley till January 29 but on January 25, the weather would remain cloudy throughout the day.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar last night settled at minus 0.2 degrees Celsius – almost same as the previous night, the MET official said.
He said Qazigund, the gateway to the Valley in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.8 degree Celsius while the nearby Kokernag registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius last night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.4 degree Celsius.
The Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius last night, while Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of 2.8 degrees Celsius, a big surprise for this time of the year when the normal minimum temperature is six to seven degrees below the freezing point.
The mercury in the nearby Kargil settled at a low of minus 12.2 degrees Celsius.
Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu Kashmir, colder than even Drass town which recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, chopper and ropeway services were on Tuesday shut due to snow and bad weather conditions at the Vaishnodevi shrine in Reasi district, officials said.
The Vaishnodevi shrine, located in the Trikuta hills, received this season’s first snow on Sunday even as yatris continued their journey to pay obeisance.
Meanwhile, Sub Divisional Magistrate Chenani was wounded when a landslide triggered following heavy rainfall in Udhampur district.
Kishtwar-Doda-Jammu highway has also been shut for vehicular traffic due to landslide in some places following heavy rains.
Most places in Kishtwar and Doda have plunged into darkness after electricity polls and wires were damaged due to inclement weather conditions.
“The work to repair the damaged electricity line could not be started due to bad weather condition. The power supply will be restored as early as possible depending on weather conditions,” Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, Angrez Singh Rana told Rising Kashmir.