Lack of equipment hampers snow clearance in South Kashmir

Even after 24 hours of stopping of snowfall most of the streets in Shopian continued to remain clogged up with snow as the lack of snow clearing equipment failed to make them motorable.

The district administration with five snow cats and four snowploughs tried to clear the snow but the machines, according to officials supervising the snow clearing operations, were not only insufficient but also incapable to remove the thigh-high snow from the roads.

“These equipments are outdated and not strong enough to remove the snow beyond two feet deep”, said an official.

He said that the privately hired JCB backhoes could hardly do anything when the roads were buried under five feet of snow. He added that there was a compelling need for some snow cutters and other high-end snow clearing machines.

According to the official, only one snow cutter (Rolba 1500) is available in Shopian and Pulwama districts.

“We have already written to the higher authorities for the upgradation of machinery, but nothing has been done thus far”, he said. 
Fayaz Ahmad, Assistant Executive Engineer ( R& B, Mechanical Division) said that around 50 percent of the priority-I and 30 percent of priority-II roads were cleared in the district as of Thursday evening. “The uninterrupted snowfall during past few days stymied the snow clearing process”, he said. Another official, however, said that breaking down of three snow clearing machines had also delayed the process.

Many residents from different blocks of the district told Greater Kashmir that the snow had not been removed from the roads in their areas.

“The road in our village is still buried under snow. We have been requesting the administration for past three days to clear the road, but to no avail,” said M Rafiq, a resident of ShalidarZrakan. Javed Ahmad, a local resident of Shopian said that most of roads in the town remained clogged up. “Barely a single vehicle could pass at a time through the roads which administration claimed to have cleared”, he said.

Meanwhile, 19 residential houses and 28 cow sheds suffered damage across the district due to heavy snowfall.

Similar situation was see on Thursday in Anantnag and Kulgam districts too with people complaining of disruption in essential services and road connectivity.

Dozens of villages like Waghama, Shalgam, Takibal and Dadoo Marhama are reeling under sheer darkness over past many days, while roads still remain clogged with snow.

Mohammed Ayoub, resident of the village said in a miffed tone that the road leading to sub district hospital Bijbehara had not been cleared completely. “A second vehicle could hardly pass through the so-called snow cleared road”, he added.

In neighbouring Kulgam district, majority of intra-district link roads are yet to be cleared.