Snowfall in Kashmir Valley shuts Jammu-Srinagar NH, schools

Snowfall across the Kashmir Valley forced closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and schools.

Updated: Dec 30, 2010, 13:21 PM IST

Srinagar: Snowfall across the Kashmir
Valley on Thursday forced closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National
Highway and schools, which were kept open to compensate for
the loss in studies suffered by students during the summer

"The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been closed
for traffic due to snowfall in the Valley," Coordinator in the
Natural Disaster Management Cell Aamir Ali said.

He said more than 1.25 feet snow had accumulated at
Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, in Anantnag

"The road clearance work is in progress and a decision
on allowing traffic would depend on the weather conditions,"
he said.

The snowfall across the Valley also led authorities to
order closure of schools.

"All the schools, which were functional so far, will
now remain closed for winter vacation," an official of the
Divisional Administration Kashmir said.

He said the schools have been closed due to moderate
snowfall in Kashmir Valley, which has resulted in many roads
getting blocked, and to avoid inconvenience to the students.

The state Government had last month announced that it
will keep classes IX, X, XI and XII open during winter in
order to cope up with the losses suffered by students during
the five-month summer unrest in the Valley when schools were

The decision to keep the schools open was criticised
by many sections of people who felt there was no point in
putting the students through harsh weather conditions as
Kashmir was in the grip of intense cold wave with temperatures
plunging to minus six degrees Celsius.

Students have held several protest demonstrations in
the city, appealing the authorities to declare winter

School holidays in Kashmir division begin on December
15 every year and the schools reopen on March 1 every year
due to intense cold wave.

The snowfall, which began yesterday, has ended a
two-month dry spell in the Valley as the first snowfall of
the winter had taken place earlier than usual on October 22.

The heavy snowfall also led to power disruptions in
many parts of the Valley while a large number of telephone
connections were also snapped. The electricity supply has been
suspended as a precautionary measure. Gulmarg skiing resort in north Kashmir has recieved
nearly two feet of snowfall since yesterday, raising the hopes
of tourist arrival, Ali said, adding the road between Tangmarg
and Gulmarg is through for traffic.

As the snowfall this winter was delayed, the tourism
department had not organised the annual Snow Festival in
Gulmarg but now plans are afoot to organise the same in the
first week of January, official sources said.

Road clearing operations are underway in all
snow-bound areas of the valley as the divisional
administration has pressed 75 snow clearance machines into

Officials of the Power Development Department have
fanned out their workforce to restore the snapped electricity
supply wires.

In Jammu, traffic authorities did not allow movement
of traffic to ply on the arterial road from the city as snow
had accumulated at different places on the highway following
which it had become slippery, police said.

About 2-3 feet snow had accumulated on both the sides
of the 2.5-km long Jawahar tunnel, which connects Kashmir
Valley with the rest of the country, they said, adding some
load carriers and passenger vehicles were stranded on it.

About 4-5 inches snow had also accumulated at tourist
resort of Patnitop, about 100-kms from here, while it was
raining in low lying areas of the highway.

Some hilly areas of Kishtwar and Doda districts also
experienced snowfall since last night, they said, adding rains
were also received in Jammu region.

MeT office said here that Jammu city experienced
nearly 41 mm of rainfall.

The MeT has forecast intermittent rains to continue in
plains of Jammu region and moderate to heavy snow in the
mountainous areas of Pir Panjal ranges of the region.