Jammu and Kashmir: Rain Fury claim 4 lives

Jammu/Srinagar, April 6: Rain fury showed its ugly head in the month of April, a rare case, claiming four lives across the country, while trapping scores of people, leading to cancellation of flights and also resulting in closure of one of the basic needs of students-educational institutes, in the picturesque Jammu and Kashmir. Death toll due to inclement weather condition went up to three, as the gate of a park came down on a 55-year-old woman, while she was passing nearby, in tourist resort Dalhousie, this morning. Reports arriving here said that Anganwari worker Lila Matu was passing nearby the Sadar Bazar Park, when a column of the gate hit her, after being dislodged by the wind storm. She died on the spot.

Two persons belonging to a village at Nankhari of Rampur got killed yesterday, while eight others were injured, when lightening struck them. Vehicular traffic was disrupted in the capital town as two big Deodar trees were dislodged by the wind storm this afternoon and a landslide hit the new ISBT-Khalni road at Tuttikandi. Deputy Mayor of Shimla MC said that a huge tree come down on the road at Sanjuli, disrupting vehicular traffic and movement of commuters in Bazar. Similarly, old trees got uprooted by the wind near Historic Church at the Ridge, disrupting power supply, movement of commuters and traffic.

Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country, following the closure of the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway due to fresh snowfall, landslides and shooting stones. Meanwhile, fresh snowfall on the national highway, connecting Ladakh region with Kashmir, has badly hampered the snow clearance operation. More than 20 people got trapped in flash floods in Poonch district, while a woman died due to lightning in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.Srinagar and its adjoining areas turned white, though for a brief period, due to fresh snowfall, followed by rain and thunderstorm.

Hills surrounding world famous Dal Lake, including Mahadev and Zabarwan, had also turned white due to fresh snowfall.The Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) and Degree college Bijbehara in Kashmir have postponed all examinations due to inclement weather. In view of inclement weather conditions, the schools will remain close in mountainous Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, the schools were closed in the remote belts but due to continuous rainfall, the region gets prone to landslide, following which all schools were to remain close.The air traffic resumed this afternoon following an improvement in the visibility despite intermittent rain from Srinagar International Airport, where seven morning flights were cancelled due to fresh snowfall in Kashmir.

“Seven morning flights operating from Srinagar airport were cancelled due to fresh snow and rain since early this morning, resulting in poor visibility,” an airport official told Media Sources. However, as the day progressed, the visibility improved despite intermittent rain in the afternoon. He said around 37 flights were able to operate from the airport after the improvement in the visibility.As many as 44 flights operate between Srinagar-Delhi and Srinagar-Jammu on daily bases from the only airport in the Valley. Air traffic has been affected several times from the airport since January.

Western Disturbance had hit Jammu and Kashmir, following which heavy rains lashed the plains and fresh snowfall was witnessed on upper reaches. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti reviewed the situation arising out of incessant rains and directed the officials to chalk out contingency plans for flood-prone areas and make available nearby buildings, in case of emergency evacuations. She directed immediate constitution of a Unified Control Room (UCR) to monitor the situation, arising out of continued rains and snow in Kashmir valley, since yesterday.

Ms Mufti directed constitution of similar control rooms at the district levels also and asked the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir to monitor the functioning of these control rooms and coordinate the rescue efforts in these districts. Heavy rain and hailstorms occurred late last night in several parts of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and the national capital, giving worries to farmers as the wheat harvesting season was in progress and the farmers had yet to touch the sickle to harvest the crop.

There was also fresh snowfall on the historic Mughal road. In Srinagar, the maximum and minimum temperatures were recorded at 12 degrees C and 7 degrees C, respectively.