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Snow wreaks havoc across Kashmir

Man killed, wife missing in Kokernag avalanche; 10 cops trapped as snowslide buries police post; Highway remains closed, flights cancelled again; Advisor Sharma, Div Com chair meetings

A man died after a snow avalanche hit his residential house in Sanbradi Magam village in Kokernag area of southern Anantnag district on Thursday evening, officials said.

An official said a massive avalanche hit the residential house of Bashir Ahmad Qureshi, son of Noor Mohammad.

The house owner Bashir died in the incident while his wife is still trapped, he said.

Earlier, officials said they rescued two of the family members.

Deputy commissioner Anantnag Muhammad Younis Malik told Greater Kashmir that the rescue operation is still in progress.

HIGHWAY CLOSED, FLIGHTS CANCELLED

While the Srinagar-Jammu highway continues to remain closed, fresh snowfall again forced cancellation of flights at the Srinagar airport on Thursday, disconnecting Kashmir from rest of the world.

Heavy snowfall across Kashmir since last night forced people to prefer staying indoors Thursday, even as vehicular movement in the summer capital and Srinagar and elsewhere in the Valley was reported to be thin due to accumulation of snow.

A Met department official said almost all parts of Kashmir received moderate to heavy snowfall during the last 24 hours.

We expect the weather to improve from Friday afternoon, he said.

An official source said electricity transmission lines were damaged in most parts of Kashmir due to heavy snowfall, leading to snapping of power supply in the affected areas.

Deputy commissioner Budgam Sherish Ashgar said out of 22 receiving stations, five are functional in the district.

“33 KV and 11 KV lines have developed a fault. At most places, uprooted trees have fallen on these lines,” she told Greater Kashmir, adding that efforts are on to restore electricity in the district as early as possible.

Similar reports came in from Shopian district, where uprooted trees have fallen on electricity transmission lines.

The Srinagar-Jammu highway continued to remain closed for the second consecutive day.

A fresh snow avalanche hit Jawahar tunnel on the highway on Thursday evening, blocking one of its tubes, an official said.

“There have been fresh landslides at Panthal, Anoki fall and other places,” he said, adding that continuous rains, snow and shooting stones are badly hampering the road clearance operations.

An avalanche struck Mahu area in Ramban district, damaging several residential structures there, an official said, but hastened to add that “no loss of life” was reported in the incident.

Another avalanche hit Mangit area in the district, damaging two residential houses.

Air traffic at the Srinagar airport remained suspended for the second consecutive day Thursday due to poor visibility and fresh snowfall.

The nine-km-long Chennai-Nashri tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway was abruptly closed for traffic on Thursday reportedly due to a power outage which temporarily shut light and exhaust fans inside the tunnel, a source said.

Traffic on both directions of the tunnel was suspended, according to district development commissioner Ramban Showket Ajaz Butt.

 “This is a very serious issue and a cause of concern. I will visit the tunnel personally on Friday to know the exact reason behind suspension of traffic,” the DDC said.

The authorities Thursday issued a fresh avalanche warning for avalanche-prone districts of Kashmir, including Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora and Ganderbal.

The medium-level warning has also been issued for Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, Ramban,  Doda , Kishtwar, Udhampur and Kargil districts for the next 24 hours.

10 police personnel were trapped under snow after a massive avalanche hit police post near Jawhar tunnel in Kulgam district Thursday evening.

“10 personnel are safe and 10 others are trapped under snow,” senior superintendent of police Kulgam Haremeet Singh told Greater Kashmir.

He said a massive rescue operation is underway.

A report said the avalanche buried the police post completely.

Advisor to Governor Kewal Kumar Sharma Thursday directed for putting in a place a mechanism to ensure that the people of the state do not sufferer for want of basic facilities in inclement weather conditions.

The advisor was speaking at a review meeting convened to discuss the overall scenario in view of the adverse weather conditions prevalent in the state.

He directed the officers to ensure that the people are provided with the adequate requisite facilities besides ensuring the snow clearance is done on the main roads of the major towns besides villages and lanes as well.

An official spokesman said in view of unabated snowing across Kashmir, the divisional commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan Thursday convened a high-level meeting to review the preparedness of all district administrations of the Kashmir division.

The deputy commissioners informed the divisional commissioner that the snow had been cleared from all the priority one and inter district roads by various engineering agencies, the spokesman said, adding that rescue teams were already deployed at avalanche-prone areas.

The divisional commissioner directed all deputy commissioners to publicise all contact numbers of control rooms in the different media networks for prompt redressal of public grievances.

Four under-construction transmission towers of the Bandipora grid station collapsed on Thursday due to heavy snowfall.

The police Thursday booked 10 persons including a journalist, a woman, a house-owner and his nephew for allegedly providing shelter to three Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Batamaloo area of Srinagar on August 8 last year and also helping them to flee from the area amid firing.

Source: Greater Kashmir

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