Heavy rains, snow wreak havoc in Rajouri, Poonch

Heavy rainfall in low lying areas and snowfall in the upper reaches for the last two days have caused extensive damage to the properties— both public and private— in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch.

According to sources dozens of structures especially cattle sheds and kacha houses have been damaged, number of domesticated animals have perished, hundreds of electric poles shattered, and around 75 power transformers developed technical snags.

The rainfall and snowfall that started on Sunday evening continued till early morning on Wednesday after which the weather was hazy and cloudy.

DSP Traffic, Rajouri Poonch range, Mohammad Zubair Mirza said that for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, the road between Thanamandi and Surankote sub divisions of Rajouri and Poonch districts remained closed for traffic due to heavy snowfall at Dehra Ki Gali pass where depth of snow is around two feet.

The officer said that no main road in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch is closed. “However, many link roads are closed due to slippery conditions”.

Executive Engineer PDD Rajouri, Munshi Khan told Greater Kashmir that around 40 power poles have broken down in the snow bound areas while the number of power transformers that have suffered damage is quite high. “Around 50 transformers of both 25 KVA and 63 KVA have developed technical snags especially in areas from where heavy snowfall and lightning were reported.”

He however said that barring a few villages, all the 11 KVA power feeders in the district are working normally.

Executive Engineer PDD in Poonch district, Maqbool Naik told Greater Kashmir that around 25 transformers, mostly in snow bound areas, have suffered damage and received technical snags.

“The number of poles damaged due to snowfall is quite high in the district, and the number is around four hundred,” Naik said.

He added that in some hamlets in the upper reaches, power supply is affected but in all the main areas and low lying belts of the district, power stands restored.

“The auxiliary transformers installed in Bandi Chechian receiving station of Poonch got damaged due to which power in around one dozen villages is affected and these areas are under blackout since early morning of Wednesday but efforts are on to repair the transformers,” Naik said.

Meanwhile, reports of damage to around two dozen structures have been received by the authorities so far, and the number is expected to rise further.

“Around two dozen structures especially in Budhal, Kandi, Darhal, Kalakote, Thanamandi areas of Rajouri and upper reaches of Poonch have suffered damage due to heavy rainfall and snowfall and most of the damaged structures are cattle sheds and kacha houses,” officials said.

They said that in Dalheri village of Kotranka, house of Ambo Devi wife of Late Baldev Singh got damaged. Similarly houses of Abdul Hamid son of Ghulam Nabi of Bhai Nambal, and Zairat Gul son of Rehmat Gul of Phalni Samote, and Mohammad Yousif son of Fattu of Kewal Budhal, two cattle sheds in Mendhar areas and dozens of other structures got damaged.

They informed that in Draman village of Rajouri’s Budhal, three to four animals got buried under the debris of a cattle shed after natural lightning struck.

Similarly, in Qila Darhal village of Nowshera, a kacha house and a cattle shed of Abdul son of Lakhia collapsed due to rainfall resulting in the death of ten goats and some other domesticated animals.

Deputy Commissioner Rajouri Mohammad Nazir Sheikh said that field staff have been asked to share details of losses. “Initially, we have reports about loss of around fifteen structures with no report of any loss of life as of now,” the DC Rajouri said.