39 stranded families rescued in Kashmir
Thirty-nine families, including two residing in a houseboat, were rescued on Saturday in two separate operations here following heavy snowfall, an official spokesman said. District administration of Srinagar along with police personnel rescued 37 nomadic families stranded in the Panthachowk area of the city, the spokesman said. He said the families were provided accommodation at Panthachowk, apart from blankets, ration and assistance for basic needs. The nomadic families along with livestock were on their way to Poonch district when they were caught in heavy snowfall, he said.Rescued from houseboat In another operation, the spokesman said at least 12 members of two families residing in a houseboat in Jhelum river were rescued. The houseboat owned by the families sank on Saturday evening in Kothibagh area of the city leaving the families in distress, he said. Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary along with senior officers from departments, members of flood control, State Disaster Response Force and police reached the spot, the spokesman said.He added that Srinagar district administration also provided assistance to 11 families whose houses were damaged in two separate fire incidents in Habbak area of Ganpatyar and Tibetan Colony.Fresh snowfall was experienced in parts of Kashmir as a thick layer of fog engulfed the Valley, affecting air traffic here, officials said. Kokernag town in south Kashmir recorded 3.8 mm of snow, while the highway township of Qazigund along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway registered 0.2 mm of snowfall, he said. Pahalgam tourist resort recorded 2.2 mm of fresh snowfall, the official said. He said there are reports of snowfall in some other areas in the higher reaches of the Valley. The official said a thick layer of fog engulfed most parts of the Valley on Saturday morning as the temperature dipped to freezing point. The fog affected the flight operations at Srinagar airport as most of the flights were delayed, while two were cancelled.Highway blockedA fresh landslide blocked the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district, leaving thousands of commuters stranded at various places, officials said. The traffic on the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, was restored in the morning after remaining closed for two days due to heavy snowfall and landslides at several places.“A massive landslide occurred on the highway near Mahar, 2 km away from Ramban town, around 2 pm,” a traffic department official said. A clearance operation was immediately launched but, given the volume of the debris, the road is likely to be thrown open for traffic only on Sunday, according to the official. Power supply restoredPower supply to all hospitals in Kashmir has been restored after heavy snowfall caused massive damage to power infrastructure, officials said. At a meeting, Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan took stock of electricity restoration works in each district and was informed that power supply has been restored at all hospitals and various parts of the valley, a spokesperson said.