Srinagar: At least six persons were killed during the season's first snowfall in the plains of Kashmir valley on Thursday, November 7, and also brought life to a complete halt in the region.
A policeman and an Army porter were reportedly killed in a snow avalanche in Jumgund sector of Kupwara and a power department official died in Naseembagh area of Srinagar after a Chinar branch came off, killing him on the spot.
Another person was reported to have been killed in Pulwama district of South Kashmir while clearing the snow from his home's rooftop. Two army personnel were also reported to have been killed in Kupwara district.
Massive deluge, uncleared snow and fallen trees blocked all main roads across the Valley including the summer capital of Srinagar which is also facing a power outage since Wednesday night.
According to the state Meteorology Department, the snowfall in the Valley is part of the western weather system as the region has witnessed an abrupt dip in the temperature since two days. "The snowfall will continue and we are expecting the weather to get better after Friday afternoon," Sonam Lotus, director of the Meteorology Department told NewsClick.
Due to the heavy snowfall, commuters in Srinagar and other areas faced huge inconvenience as snow accumulated on all arterial roads causing traffic jams. The fallen trees along the main roads also caused blockade in several major roads in many areas of the Valley including in busy market places like Lal Chowk, Hazrat Bal, Habak, Bemina and Parraypora.
Also read: Heavy Snowfall Throws Life Out of Gear in Kashmir
"There is no snow clearing mechanism here. It took me nearly two hours to cover a distance which usually takes 15 minutes. The administration has completely disappeared," Abid Bhat, a resident of Lal Bazar said.
The collapse of power supply which has pushed the entire Valley into darkness has added to the woes of people due to early snowfall this season. "No lessons have been learnt from previous experiences. We always face the same issue every year, there is no water or electricity even during few inches of snowfall," Mehraj Din of Dalgate said.
According to an official from the state’s Power Department, the electricity lines have suffered severe damage and the power supply will not be restored unless the damage is completely assessed. "It will take almost two days for the complete restoration of power in the valley," the official told NewsClick.
Air traffic at the Srinagar airport was also disrupted due to the snowfall affecting all incoming and outgoing flights from the airport for two consecutive days due to poor visibility. The airport management authority said they have cleared the snow along the runway.
The ground traffic along the Srinagar-Jammu highway has also been suspended in the wake of the snowfall. Even as the mechanical engineering division of the state department cleared off snow along major roads and national Highway by Friday morning, all other link roads and internal areas caused massive inconvenience to people.
Also read: ‘Fear and Uncertainty in Kashmir Reminiscent of Troubled 90s’
Meanwhile, the region continued to be under severe restrictions imposed on August 5, ahead of announcing the abrogation of Article 370. A severe clampdown followed and all communication networks were blocked. While the mobile phone lines were partially restored, internet services continue to remain disrupted.