For a City which witnessed season's heaviest snowfall Sunday, it was no less than a pleasant surprise to see roads cleared before sunrise when Musalees left for Masjids to offer Fajar Salah.
This was the scene Monday morning across major Srinagar roads as the day proceeded for a bright sunshine.
A Karan Nagar resident said given the snowfall till late night, he wasn't hopeful to find a clear road to Gole Market Masjid. "But on stepping out of my house, I found a different scene as roads were clear," he said.
While initially many had preferred to stay indoors, by 8:00 AM their perception changed when RJ Nasir of 92.7 Big FM had no snow woes to air. He went on air saying the roads were clear, everywhere.
Officials said preparedness paid. "We had requisite infrastructure including men and machinery in place and so we managed to start the snow clearance because roads had turned slippery by evening," said Roads and Building ( R&B) department Chief Engineer SK Razdan, the agency assigned to clear to major roads.
While the R&B was active, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation stayed no behind. "For us priority was clearing roads leading to hospitals, offices and Masjids and shrines, which we did by sunrise," SMC Commissioner Dr GN Qasba said.
Some R&B officials said the "unusual interest" show by their PWD Minister Syed AltafBukhari into snow clearance remained a motivation for the overnight operations.
Bukhari who was in Kashmir to review rehabilitation of flood victims Sunday was at SKICC when heavy snowfall started. From there he straight drove to R&B office to review snow clearance preparedness. "By 9:00 PM everything was ready," said an R&B official adding snow clearance started by 10:00 PM.
Bukhari however credited the administration particularly the R&B for the task. "This credit goes to departmental officers, we have excellent team… my role was only of a motivator," he said.
Meanwhile snow melting compounded waterlogging woes. Many low-lying areas including busy marketplaces remained inundated while the Minister and senior officials inspected the affected areas.
"Ensure dewatering of all water logged and low lying areas of City so that people do not face any inconvenience on this count," Bukhari as per an official handout said.
The Minister accompanied by officials visited Khanyar, Zadibal, Eidgah, DarishKadal to review the ongoing beautification of Dastgeer Sahib (RA) Shrine, Aali Masjid and Imam Bargah, Zadibal. He also inspected the dewatering station at DarishKadal and urged the officials to work with dedication to ensure quality service delivery.
The Minister also visited SKIMS, Soura and interacted with its Director. Bukhari sought information about Swine Flu impact and asked the hospital administration to provide every medicare facility to such patients. "There's nothing alarming about Swine Flu, people shouldn't panic," Bukhari said.
Later, he visited flood devastated Jawahar Nagar and Raj Bagh areas and interacted with the locals and enquired about the problems being faced by them. He assured them that their problems would be resolved on priority.
The Minister was accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Chief Engineers of PHE, R&B, PDD, Mechanical Engineering Department, PMGSY, Commissioner SMC, SP Traffic and other senior officers of the district.
Meanwhile the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Sheikh Ashiq hailed the administration for the "prompt snow clearance" even as he sought "speedy dewatering of affected areas."