70 stranded passengers rescued at Surankote
STATE TIMES NEWS
Srinagar: Five soldiers have gone missing along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir’s Gurez and Naugam sectors, following heavy snowfall in the valley since yesterday, a defence official said on Tuesday.
Jammu and Kashmir is experiencing widespread snowfall and rain with the meteorological (MeT) office forecasting present weather conditions to continue till Thursday due to a western disturbance over the state.
“Two soldiers fell down a slope in Naugam sector (Kupwara district) while three others went missing from a forward post in the Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez (Bandipora district) during heavy snowfall,” Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said here.
Search and rescue operations are on to trace the five missing soldiers, he said.
Earlier, a police official had said that the three soldiers in Gurez sector went missing after an avalanche hit their post at Baktoor near the LoC.
An army porter is missing since yesterday after he came under an avalanche in Tulail in Gurez.
The Kashmir valley was cut off from the rest of the country on Tuesday as flight operations at the Srinagar airport were suspended and the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and Mughal road were closed for traffic due to snowfall and rain.
The present weather conditions in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to continue till Thursday due to a western disturbance over the state, the meteorological (MeT) office said.
The 300-km long highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed following heavy rains and snowfall at several places, including the Jawahar Tunnel, and incidents of shooting stones near Panthal.
In the state’s summer capital, flight services to and fro from the Srinagar International Airport were hit due to poor visibility caused by the heavy snowfall, airport authorities said.
Director, Srinagar airport, Sharad Kumar said, “Air traffic to and fro from the airport has been suspended due to low visibility. There has been no improvement in the visibility around the airport so far.” “We are monitoring the situation. If visibility improves, we will resume flight operations,” he said.
However, in Gulmarg, the coldest in Jammu and Kashmir at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius, the spell of snowfall brightened prospects for winter sports as nearly four feet of snow accumulated at the ski resort.
Srinagar, which is experiencing intermittent rains since morning, received snowfall till 10 am, while heavy snowfall was recorded in Sonamarg and Baltal, base camps of the annual Amarnath Yatra in central Kashmir, the MeT office said.
Moderate snowfall was reported from across south Kashmir, including Pahalgam, a tourist resort, where seven inches of snow has accumulated so far, it said, adding 3.5 feet of snow accumulated at Sonamarg.
The Srinagar-Kargil, Bandipora-Gurez, Kupwara-Macchil, Kupwara-Keran and Kupwara-Karnah roads were also closed, police officials said.
In Jammu, there was very heavy snowfall in the hill regions of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Kathua, Rajouri, Reasi and Poonch districts, due to which some inter-district and inter- state roads were closed.
Kargil in Kashmir recorded minus 3 degrees Celsius, Leh minus 1.4 degrees Celsius, Kokernag minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, Srinagar minus 0.2 degrees.
The MeT has forecast more snow and rain in the valley over the next few days.
The road was closed on Sunday evening as a precautionary measure following a weather forecast which predicted moderate to heavy snowfall and rains in wide parts of Jammu and Kashmir from December 11 to 15.
The inclement weather, which resulted in considerable drop in the day temperature, also led to the suspension of helicopter and battery car service at the famous Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Trikuta Mountains, officials said.
However, the pilgrimage to the shrine was on despite heavy rains.
Meanwhile, over 70 people, stranded after heavy rains and snowfall at Surankote, were rescued this afternoon, police said.
The commuters, including 42 labourers from outside the state, were trapped at Chatapani-Pushana near Peer Ki Gali on Monday due to heavy snowfall in the upper reaches of Surankote, Station House Officer of Surankote police station Anzar Mir said.
They were evacuated and taken to a company base camp at Bufliaz, he said.
Peer Ki Gali along the Mughal road, connecting Kashmir with the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri, is experiencing heavy snowfall since Monday.
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