STATE TIMES NEWS Srinagar: Flyers continued to be disappointed as flight operations at the Srinagar airport remained suspended for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday due to poor visibility caused by heavy fog, officials said. “No flight operations took place for the fifth straight day and all flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled on Wednesday,” an official of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) said.
Srinagar-Leh, Mughal road close after fresh snowfall
He said the visibility at the airport, due to heavy fog, was less than 100 metres and such conditions were not suitable for flight operations. “The required visibility for the flight operations is 1,000-1,200 metres. But, it is not more than 100 metres today. So, all flights for the day were cancelled,” the official said. Flight operations have been severely affected at the Srinagar airport for the past six days. On Friday, several flights were cancelled, while no flight operations took place on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. “It is very disappointing that I had to return from the airport for the second consecutive day as the flights are not operating because of the fog,” Wasim Nazir, a resident of the old city here said.
Nazir said air travel was the best option for the people in the valley as the Srinagar-Jammu national highway often remains closed in the winters.
“The highway often remains closed in the winter months and so the air travel is the best option for us. But this fog has played havoc with our plans. The airport authorities should put in place a mechanism to overcome this,” he said.
For the past few days, heavy fog has engulfed most parts of the valley, affecting the visibility and causing problems to the people especially to the motorists.
The meteorological department has said there would be improvement in the foggy weather conditions from Wednesday as the two Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh are bracing up for a possible spell of wet weather.
Meanwhile, fresh snowfall in the high altitude areas forced closure of 434-km strategic Srinagar-Leh national highway and Mughal road connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri with south Kashmir’s Shopian district, officials said.
The roads linking the border towns of Gurez in Bandipora district and Karhnah and Tangdhar in Kupwara district were also closed, while the traffic on Jammu-Srinagar national highway was restricted to one-way and only Srinagar-bound vehicles were allowed on this highway this morning, the traffic department officials said.
The upper reaches of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh including the famous ski resort of Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg experienced snowfall overnight under the influence of Western Disturbance which hit the region and is likely to remain active till morning of December 14, bring moderate and heavy snowfall and rains especially on Thursday and Friday.
Srinagar-Leh national highway, Mughal Road, Bandipora-Gurez and Kupwara-Tangdhar-Karnah roads were closed on Wednesday morning following fresh snowfall at various places along these vital roads, the officials said.
All these roads usually remain closed during winter months due to heavy snowfall.
They said the snowfall is continuing along Sonamarg-Zojilla axis on Srinagar-Leh highway, the only road linking Kashmir with Ladakh, Pir Ki Gali and adjoining areas along Mughal road, Razdan top and Sadna top in north Kashmir’s Bandipora and Kupwara districts.
Srinagar-Leh national highway and Mughal roads were cleared for one-way traffic only on December 8 after remaining closed for several weeks following heavy snowfall in November.
The officials said the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, remain open but the traffic was restricted to one-way.
Only Srinagar-bound vehicles were allowed to move on the highway, they said.
The traffic is playing alternatively on the highway from the twin capitals of Jammu and Srinagar since December 9, a practice which comes into force during winter to allow smooth passage of vehicles in the wake of the ongoing four-laning project.
The weatherman has issued an orange warning for the twin Union Territories for Thursday and Friday, predicting moderate to heavy snowfall and rain.
The Kashmir administration has deployed 154 snow clearance machines across the Valley.
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