In view of the Meteorological Department prediction for snowfall this weekend, the divisional administration has geared up its snow preparedness keeping its men and machinery ready, officials said. The administration had come under severe criticism for slow snow clearance after the Valley received a heavy spell of snowfall from January 3.
However, as the MeT has predicted a moderate widespread spell of snowfall between Saturday and Sunday, officials said they are taking no chances.
Speaking with the Greater Kashmir, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole said more than 275 snow clearance machines of the Mechanical Engineering Department are ready to be pressed into service to clear snow from roads leading to hospitals and other roads. The Div Com said that in addition to the snow clearance machines of the Public Works Department, machines of the civic bodies such as the Srinagar Municipal Corporation would also be used for snow clearance.
“The heavy snowfall earlier this month has put the system to test. We are now prepared for any sort of inclement weather as men and machinery has been kept ready,” Pole said. As per the action plan of the administration, there are 1834 roads identified in all the 10 districts of the Valley on which snow clearance is undertaken by the Mechanical Engineering department. The total road length on which snow needs to be cleared by MED in case of a moderate to heavy snowfall is almost 5554 kilometres, official data said. Besides, officials said the Roads and Buildings Department which cleared snow from almost 8396 kilometres of road length during the heavy snowfall of January 3 with help of 51 earthmovers is also ready to face challenges arising out of the inclement weather. The Div Com said efforts were on to ensure that incase of snowfall, power and water supply restoration does not take much time. He said there were enough stocks of petrol, diesel, cooking gas available in case there is closure of the 270-kilometre Srinagar-Jammu National Highway due to the snowfall.
Temperatures: Even as the Meteorological Department has said that there would be a significant improvement in the temperatures and the Valley will witness respite from the cold wave from Thursday, the low sub-zero temperatures on Tuesday night continued to freeze Kashmir. Summer capital Srinagar witnessed a marginal improvement in the temperatures as it recorded minus 6 degrees Celsius on Tuesday night. The ski-resort Gulmarg in Baramulla recorded minus 6.5 degrees while Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded minus 8.3 degrees Celsius on Tuesday night. Qazigund, the gateway to the Valley recorded minus 8.7 degrees, making it the coldest recorded station in the Valley, MeT data said. Kashmir is presently witnessing the 40 day long harshest winter period of Chilai Kalan during which chances of snowfall are maximum and temperatures drop considerably. The peak winters this year has been harsh with temperature in summer capital Srinagar recorded at a 29-year-long record low at minus 8.4 degrees Celsius. The snowfall in the beginning of this month was severe and had hit all sorts of essential services including power and water supply.