Srinagar: Heavy rains pounded several areas of Kashmir damaging many houses and led to closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway because of landslides with water level in Jhelum river also rising fast.
Heavy rains since yesterday has resulted in damage to at least 44 structures, including 18 houses, due to landslides in Chrar-e-Sharief area of Kashmir, officials said.
The rainfall has forced closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway due to landslides at some places, an official of the Traffic department said.
He said the road was closed yesterday for repairs but fresh downpour has resulted in the arterial road remaining closed for the second day today.
Although the water level in Jhelum was still four feet below the danger mark of 18 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh in the city, the rise of two feet in the past five hours has resulted in panic among the residents, the officials said.
At Sangam in south Kashmir, Jhelum was flowing at 14.25 feet, nearly seven feet below the danger mark.
Many shopkeepers in commercial hub of Lal Chowk and surrounding areas were seen taking out their merchandise to safer places in view of rising water level.
Some shops in low lying areas of the city have been submerged due to waterlogging of roads due to congested drains.
Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed flew in here from the winter capital Jammu to take stock of the situation and monitor the steps taken to counter the situation.
"The chief minister reached Srinagar to personally monitor the situation arising due to incessant rains in the Valley," an official spokesman said.
Three ministers - Altaf Bukhari, Imran Raza Ansari and Asiya Naqash - have been travelling through the city since this morning, asking people not to panic and assuring of all possible help.
A dedicated desk has been set up in the Police Control Room for the assistance of the people in waterlogged areas of the Valley.
Sayeed is expected to review the situation at a meeting of the officials concerned later in the day.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh informed the Assembly in Jammu that administration is on "full alert" in the wake of heavy rains in the Valley and the situation is being monitored continuously.
Singh assured that all precautionary measures have been put in place.
A landslide caused by the rain in Chontinar village of Budgam district destroyed eight residential houses and 10 cowsheds last evening, police said today.
At least 26 houses were partially damaged by the landslide but there were no reports of any loss of life in the incident, a police official said.
He said the residents of the area had been evacuated to safety before the landslide struck.
The Valley has been witnessing heavy rainfall since yesterday, leading to sudden surge in water level of rivers, streams and rivulets, causing panic among the residents about possibility of fresh floods.
The MET office has predicted wet weather over the next six days with heavy downpour expected today and on April 3.
The main road in Rajbagh is covered by more than 18 inches of water while roads in many other areas of the city, including commercial hub of Lal Chowk and adjoining Regal Chowk, also have severe waterlogging problem.
Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone said due to technical fault in the electricity supply system, the dewatering operations were delayed.
"The fault in electricity supply has been removed and dewatering has been started. Besides the regular dewatering stations, we are pressing into service fire tenders to dewater the city roads," Lone said.