Kashmir: Power crisis continues, 2 die of cold

The Kashmir Valley continued to shiver a day after it received heavy snowfall.

Srinagar: The Kashmir Valley continued to
shiver a day after it received heavy snowfall, with the summer
capital and Gulmarg resort recording the coldest night of this
winter, leading to the death of two persons.

The mercury across the region plunged by several notches
as the Valley was draped in all white following yesterday`s

The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway remained closed for
third consecutive day today. Although the road has been
cleared of the snow, the freezing overnight temperatures have
rendered the road slippery and unsafe for plying of vehicles,
officials said.

The officials said there was fresh snowfall around
Jawahar tunnel this morning which is likely to delay the
reopening of the arterial 294-kilometre road, the only surface
link between the Valley and rest of the country.

The minimum temperature in Srinagar settled at minus 5.5
deg C, which was the coldest night in the city this winter, an
official of MET department said.

The city had recorded the season`s low of minus 4.9 deg C
in the third week of December.

Gulmarg, the star attraction for tourists visiting
Kashmir during the winter, recorded a low of minus 16.5
deg C, the official said.

He said Qazigund recorded a minimum temperature of minus
8.4 deg C followed by Kokernag (minus 6.3 deg C), Pahalgam
(minus 6.0 deg C) and Kupwara (minus 5.6 deg C).

The drop in night temperature has resulted in formation
of a layer of ice even on the city roads while water supply
pipes have been frozen.

Dal Lake and other water bodies in the valley were also
partially frozen due to intense cold.

The weatherman has forecast snowfall or rains at few
places in the valley over the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, electricity supply has not been restored in
the Valley so far as repair work on the transmission line
between Northern Grid and Kashmir has not been completed yet,
officials said.

They said the transmission line was cut off due to
snowfall on Friday night and fresh snowfall was hampering the

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has directed authorities to
supply electricity from internal power generation sources in
the Valley only to emergency services like hospitals only till
full electricity is restored.

Desh Raj (50) was found dead in his agricultural fields in
Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua district, officials said.

He reportedly died due to extreme cold, they said, adding
that another unidentified middle aged man died of cold and was
found in Bishnah area of Jammu district.

Over 2,000 vehicles were stranded on 300-km long
Jammu-Srinagar national highway, which remained closed for the
third consecutive day today.

"The closure of highway for the third consecutive day
today due to heavy snowfall in Jawahar tunnel-Patnitop area
has forced over 2,000 vehicles to stop enroute at various
places," police official said.

With the closure of the only surface link between Kashmir
and rest of the country, vehicles are stranded at Jammu,
Nagrota, Udhampur, Chenani, Ramban areas.

Efforts are being made by Border Road Oraganisations
(BRO) to clear roads after the snowfall stopped, they said.
The BRO officials said traffic between Jammu and Ramban,
covering 147-km stretch of the road, and Ramban to Banihal
will restored by this evening.

The inter-districts road of Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch and
Jammu-Doda-Kishtwar were also closed due to snowfall at
various places. The inter-state Bhaderwah-Chamba (Himachal
Pradesh) road is closed following eight feet snow at Sartangal

Normal life in Kashmir came to a grinding halt with
power, water and communication services being badly hit after
heavy snowfall yesterday.