Intense cold grips Kashmir Valley



Srinagar: An intense cold wave gripped Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley on Sunday. The weather office forecast has fresh snowfall.

Bone-chilling winds lashed the region as night temperatures fell much below the freezing point.

It was minus 4.2 degrees in Srinagar, minus 7.6 in Qazigund, minus 11.2 in Pahalgam, minus 14.0 in Gulmarg, minus 20.0 in Leh and minus 17.6 in Kargil.

Due to highly slippery roads and fresh accumulation of frozen ice on roads and pavements, people with bone injuries were continuously pouring into the city's Bone and Joint hospital.

"The number of patients is increasing. People are advised to wear proper footwear while walking on frozen roads and pavements," said Manzoor Ahmad Halwai, superintendent of Srinagar's only specialized bone hospital.

"People should also be careful about the falling snow from rooftops while walking," he said.

Meanwhile, the weather office has forecast fresh snowfall in the next three days across the Valley.

"Fresh snowfall is likely between January 23 and 26. The snowfall is likely to be moderate," said Sonam Lotus, director of the meteorological office.

Highway open for one-way traffic

Meanwhile, the Srinagar-Jammu highway will remain open for one-way traffic today, but only trucks and government-run buses will move from the summer capital to the winter capital.

Inspector General of Police Hemant Kumar Lohia said trucks from Qazigund in South Kashmir's Anantnag district and State Road Transport Corp (SRTC) buses with passengers from Srinagar to Jammu would be allowed to ply.

"No light vehicle will be allowed," he said.

Over 500 stranded trucks carrying essential supplies reached the Kashmir Valley from Jammu Saturday evening.

Heavy snowfall in the Patnitop and Bannihal sectors of the highway had closed the road triggering shortages of cooking gas, kerosene and other essential commodities in the Kashmir Valley.

The consumer affairs and public distribution department (CAPD) officials said with the arrival of 60,000 cooking gas cylinders and 2.5 lakh litres of kerosene oil in the Valley, the crisis will end in two days.

"The rationing of cooking gas cylinders is being withdrawn as these would be freely available in the market from today (Sunday) afternoon," said an official of the CAPD here.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has sought an enquiry into the conduct of the oil companies, which did not maintain adequate stocks of LPG in the Valley to ward off any crisis in the winter.

But they officially confirmed they had sufficient supply.

IANS