Srinagar, Nov 9: After months of dry spell, plains in Kashmir Valley Monday witnessed heavy rains while upper reaches of Valley received fresh snowfall.
According to Meteorological department, Srinagar today received 18.6 mm rain, Qazigund 5.6 mm, Pahalgam 9.06 mm, Kupwara 10.4 mm, Kokernag 8.7 mm.
The Met officials said the tourist resort of Gulmarg recorded 6 inches of snowfall while moderate snowfall was recorded in upper reaches of Sonmarg, Gurez, Maschil and Sadhna Top in North Kashmir and in Pahalgam and Pir Panchal range of South Kashmir.
The peaks of Zaberwan mountain range in Srinagar were covered with snow on Monday morning. The rain in plains and snowfall in upper reaches is likely to continue in North-West area of Kashmir division, Met officials predicted.
The rainfall and snow brought down the day and night temperatures here. The summer capital recorded a maximum of 9 degree Celsius while the minimum was recorded at 2 degree Celsius.
To meet any eventuality arising out of snowfall and rains, Government said it had kept 57 snow clearance machines on stand-by across the Valley while control rooms have been set up in all districts.
The fresh rainfall and snow has brought smile on the faces of the officials of the Public Health Engineering Department who for past one month have been warning of major water crisis in the valley. Last month minister for PHE, Taj Mohi-ud-din, had urged people to make judicious use of drinking water as water level in all the rivers, including Jhelum, Sindh and their tributaries, had come down considerably owing to the dry spell. The minister had proposed the idea of installing water meters to charge the consumers according to water consumed. Water meters are otherwise unheard of in the valley.
Almost all water schemes in Kashmir valley have been affected by the drying up of water sources.
"The rains would surely being relief," said Chief Engineer PHE, Kashmir, G M Dar. In Dachigam Nalla, which feeds water to the city, he said, there was 30 per cent increase in water level and it would help the department to cater the needs of down town areas of the city.
The installed capacity for Srinagar city is 57 million gallons per day but presently due to worn out machinery and dry spell the department has been able to provide 44 million gallons per day. The total requirement is 67 million gallons per day.
"We pray that the rainfall continues for few more days. It will recharge the groundwater and help us to come over the crises," Dar said.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Prof Kamal Farooqi of SKAUST Kashmir said the rainfall would be very helpful for the physiological process of the temperate fruits like apple, pear, peach, and apricot when they will enter into the active phase in spring. He said at present the fruits were in dormant phase and this rain would help the plant to take in the nutrients present in the soil. The accumulation of moisture and nutrients would help in the growth of these fruits.
Director Agriculture, Bashir Ahmad, said the rainfall will be having a good impact on agriculture particularly Rabi crops like oats, oil seeds. He, however, said that the snowfall in the upper reaches would damage the crops as harvesting of potatoes, maize was still going on there.
CONTROL ROOMS START FUNCTIONING:
According to an official spokesman, the control room set up at Rajbagh Srinagar has started functioning from today due to early snowfall in the upper reaches. Earlier, the control room was scheduled to function from November 15. The people in case of any emergency can contact on the phone numbers 2131456 and 2310054. The Deputy Commissioner Srinagar has also set up control room in his office.