Efforts underway to restore road, air connectivity to Kashmir
Srinagar: Residents of Kashmir heaved a sigh of relief with the improvement in weather as authorities expedited efforts to restore the surface and air links to connect the Valley with rest of the country.
The 294-km Srinagar-Jammu national highway was opened for stranded vehicle this afternoon after two days closure owing to heavy snowfall, while the air traffic is also expected to resume shortly, officials said.
Kashmir Valley including Srinagar experienced snowfall ranging between four inches to eight feet over the past three days, prompting the authorities to suspend traffic on the arterial road on January 17. The air traffic to and fro Srinagar was also suspended yesterday owing to "bad weather".
"The Srinagar-Jammu national highway was cleared for stranded vehicles and if weather permits the one-way traffic will resume on the highway from tomorrow," a spokesman of the Traffic department told a news agency.
He said the stranded vehicles started moving towards their destinations after the road was cleared of snow around Jawahar Tunnel - the gateway to Kashmir Valley.
"Srinagar-bound vehicles will be allowed to move on the highway from Jammu tomorrow as the one-way traffic restrictions will remain in force," he said.
The air traffic is also expected to resume shortly, a spokesman of the Srinagar Airport said.
"The runway has been cleared of snow and with the improvement in the weather, we are expecting the flights to operate within next couple of hours," he said admitting that no flight could operate till noon.
The famous ski resort of Gulmarg in North Kashmir, which was the coldest place in the Valley with a low of minus 7.2 degrees Celsius, recorded fresh four feet of snow during the night, a spokesman of the MET office said.
He said Kokernag in South Kashmir also recorded a dip in the night temperature which settled at minus 3.7 degrees Celsius despite fresh one feet of snow during the night.
The minimum temperature also decreased in Srinagar and settled at 0.2 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.
He said Pahalgam hill resort in south Kashmir experienced a fresh six inches of snow during the night. The minimum temperature recorded at the hill resort was minus 2.0 degrees Celsius.
Leh in frontier region of Ladakh was the coldest recorded place in the state with a low of minus 9.0 degrees Celsius followed by nearby Kargil at minus 8.2 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, an official spokesman said the electricity supply has been restored in Srinagar and other major towns.
"Efforts are on to restore the power supply to far flung areas by this evening," the spokesman said.