MubashirBhat, who runs a skill development institute in south Kashmir’s Shopian town, leaves his home in Chitragam village – some 15 km from the town – at 8 am everyday in his car. After steering through the icy and partially snow-cleared roads, he shows up at the workplace after nearly three hours.
“It takes me around three hours to cover half an hour’s journey and the reason is partially snow-cleared roads,” Bhat said.
He said during these short days of winter, he has to travel six hours just to reach the office and back home.
“I am unable to manage my office work. It has been severely affected,” Bhat said. “Due to accumulation of snow on both sides of the road, it has become difficult to drive, resulting in hours-long traffic snarls.”
As per the locals of the district, even three weeks after the snowfall, the streets and lanes are yet to be cleared completely, causing immense trouble to them.
“The 5-km stretch from Habdipora to Malik Gund has been cleared partially,” they said. “Only one-way traffic can move on the road, which however is not possible.”
Arif Ahmad, a local said that a small stream also flows in the middle of the road which freezes during the night, making it slippery.
“And then it becomes nearly impossible to travel,” he said.
While the condition of the roads in Gagran and Pinjora areas is almost same, the streets in Bonabazar and Batapora of Shopian town are still plastered with a thick layer of snow.
“A couple of days ago, a car ran over my foot,” said another local, Aijaz Ahmad.
He said the pedestrians have to struggle to remain on the side of the road whenever a vehicle passes by.
With the Meteorological department predicting another spell of snow from Saturday, people rue that it would only compound their problems.
“The roads are yet to be made fully motorable. The fresh snowfall will completely cut the district from other parts of the Valley,” they said.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner ShopianShrikantSuse said, “Almost all the roads were cleared.”
The DC said it was the snow sliding from the roofs of the houses or shops that block the roads at some places.
“In view of the latest snow prediction, we have set up a control room and are fully prepared to meet any eventuality,” he said.