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Heavy snowfall shuts down Kashmir Valley

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 - 12:30pm IST | Agency: PTI

Heavy snowfall across Kashmir paralysed normal life in the Valley today, snapping its links with the outside world, hitting power and water supply and causing damage to more than 150 structures.

Authorities have issued a high danger avalanche warning for higher reaches of the Valley and asked people not to venture on steep slopes till this evening. The arterial Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained closed for the second day due to snowfall around Jawahar Tunnel in Qazigund area and landslides at several places between Banihal and Patnitop, a traffic department official said.

Flights to and fro Srinagar international airport also remained suspended for the second day but efforts are on to clear the runway for enabling landing of flights, an official of the Airport Authority of India said. Heavy snowfall since Monday night has hit normal life in the Valley with electricity and water supply snapped in most parts.

Authorities managed to restore electricity supply to hospitals only this morning, officials said. The local administration managed to clear the main roads of snow this morning but majority of people remained confined to their homes as the lanes and bylanes are still covered by heaps of snow. 

Most of the city roads are waterlogged as de-watering exercise could not be started due to lack of electricity supply.

Schools and other educational institutions have been closed since Monday due to the snowfall. The snowfall has caused widespread damage, particularly in rural area of the Valley, with preliminary reports saying that more than 150 residential and other structures have been damaged.

Officials said Kupwara district in north Kashmir has been the worst-hit and the damage could be of higher magnitude than reported so far.

Meanwhile, authorities have issued a high danger avalanche warning for higher reaches of the Valley and asked people not to venture on steep slopes till this evening. "State Disaster Management Authority has issued a fresh high danger avalanche warning for hilly areas of Uri, Tangdhar, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch, Rajouri, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora and Kargil," an official spokesman said yesterday.

He said people living in these snowbound areas have been requested to take precautions and not to venture on steep slopes. "The warning is valid for the next 24 hours (till 5 PM today)," the spokesman said.


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