Heavy snowfall disrupts life in Kashmir

Srinagar, Dec 31 : The Kashmir valley Tuesday received the season's heaviest snowfall throwing life out of gear and severing the valley's road and air links with rest of the country.

The snowfall began early Tuesday, bringing an end to the dry spell, and the locals woke up to a white blanket of snow. The valley had received mild snowfall last week.

Reports received here from other towns said it was snowing heavily Tuesday afternoon.

Electricity supply in the valley was disrupted as the snow snapped the power lines in capital Srinagar and other towns.

Though authorities have pressed into service snow clearing machines in the state capital Srinagar and other towns, the main thoroughfares were still covered with snow causing traffic disruption.

A senior traffic officer said the snowfall has been quite heavy in the Pir Panchal mountain range leading to closure of the valley's only road link to the rest of the country, the strategic Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

Banihal pass through which the Jawahar tunnel passes was reported to have received the season's heaviest snowfall. Traffic department authorities had cleared all the vehicles on the highway Monday itself following a heavy snowfall warning by the local Met Office.

The famous resorts of Gulmarg, Sonamarg in north Kashmir and Pahalgam in the south also received heavy snowfall.

The snowfall in the ski resort of Gulmarg has brought cheer to the visiting tourists and locals on New Year eve.

Tuesday's heavy snowfall also brought cheer to the valley's agriculturists and horticulturists as it has come in the beginning of the 40-day harsh winter period known locally as the "Chillai Kalan", raising the prospects of better Rabi crop.

--IANS (Posted on 31-12-2013)

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