Heavy snowfall paralyses life in Valley

Highway closed, train service suspended, air traffic hit, KU, PSC postpones exams
Srinagar:  Normal life across Kashmir Valley was badly affected due to heavy snowfall since overnight, leading to the closure of crucial Srinagar-Jammu highway, suspension of train services and the air traffic.
Reports reaching Global News Service said that the Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir received fresh heavy snowfall. A thick blanket of snow covered Srinagar, as tourists staying in hotels and houseboats came out in open to enjoy the flakes of snow. Many tourists and locals were seen hurling snow on each other to express their joy. The snow led to deluging of almost all roads in Srinagar. The heavy snowfall also snapped electricity in many areas including Lal Chowk, the commercial hub of the state. When this report was filed, many areas were reeling in darkness.
The snowfall also snapped mobile phone and internet connectivity of all but BSNL companies, the sources said.
The heavy snowfall also prompted the authorities to close the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu highway for traffic as the snowfall has led to slippery road conditions at Digdool, Khooni Nallah, and Panthal, even as the officials of Beacon made hectic efforts to clear the highway. The closure of the highway left at least two hundred vehicles, including passenger vehicles and load carriers stranded on the highway.
“We have suspended traffic on the highway due to heavy snowfall last night. We have been able to clear most of the stranded vehicles, however, over a dozen vehicles, including passenger buses were stopped at Ramban due to landslides triggered by incessant rains and snow. Efforts are on to clear them,” a senior traffic police official told GNS.
The continuous snowfall and poor visibility also led to the cancellation of all inbound and outbound flights. The Banihal-Qazigund train service was also suspended due to bad weather conditions.
A police spokesman in a statement issued to GNS said that despite heavy snow trains serve movement remained operational with minor delays in timings. S.P Railways Shri Mohammad Zaid said that so far three trains viz 7:10 am, 1:28pm and 5:05 pm left from Banihal. Similarly three trains from Baramulla to Budgam viz 8 am, 11:15am and 1:45 pm have reached destination.
Srinagar, the capital city recorded 1 ft of fresh snowfall till evening, while Qazigund recorded 1 ft, Pahalgam 3 ft, Kokernag  3ft, Banihal 1.5 ft, and Jawahar Tunnel 2.5 ft of snow. The minimum temperate in Srinagar was recorded at  0.0 degree Celsius.
Gulmarg valley, known as Asia’s Switzerland for its mighty slopes and landscape recorded 1 ft of snow as the minimum temperature was recorded at minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Pahalgam, another famous hill station in south Kashmir recorded minimum temperature of  0.1 degree Celsius.
Meanwhile, the meteorological department has predicted more rains and snow across Jammu and Kashmir in the next 24 hours.
“Light to moderate snow/rain would occur at many places in Jammu and Kashmir,” an official of the MeT department said.

Meanwhile, Kashmir University in statement here said that it has postponed all exams including the PG-entrance examinations 2014 scheduled to be held on March, 11, 12 and 13 . Fresh dates for the postponed papers have already been notified and the rescheduled Date-Sheet is available on KU website www.kashmiruniversity.ac.in. However the venue of the examination centres shall remain unchanged. (GNS)