Anantnag/Shopian: The snowfall, which began late on Tuesday evening carpeted the south Kashmir districts today leading to the closure of roads and heavy disruptions in utility services while forcing people to remain cooped up inside their homes.
The upper reaches of the region received snowfall as high as 2 feet and low lying areas around 1 foot.
In Anantnag district even as snow clearance machines were occasionally pressed into service on the main roads; Srinagar – Jammu National Highway; Khanabal Pahalgam ( KP) road; Anantnag - Shangus; Anantnag- Kokernag; Anantnag Dooru; Bijbehara Pahalgam but the roads remain blocked at several places.
"The slippery road conditions didn't allow the traffic to ply even on these roads and people had to face lot of difficulties , " locals said. They said the roads connecting villages to towns continue to be cut off.
"We were forced to ferry the patients and pregnant woman on stretchers and cots to the hospitals," said Manzoor Ahmad of Watnard village of Kokernag.
Similar reports poured in from other villages of the district. In Seepan village, barely 3 kilometres from Anantnag town, locals said a man who sustained injuries after falling from a roof top while clearing snow early morning was taken to GMC hospital on foot.
In neighboring Kulgam district the situation was more grim. " Around 2.5 feet of snow has piled up in our area and the roads have not been cleared at all, "said Khurshid Ahmad of DH Pora Kulgam.
People in villages were seen clearing the snow on the rooftops of their houses. " There is every possibility of houses now collapsing so we have to do it regularly, "said Ashfaq Ahmad of remote Dandran village of DHPora. Several houses were damaged due to heavy snowfall.
In Tangmarg Aharbal, village an official said six family members of one Iqbal Sheikh were rescued after the rooftop of the house got damaged." The family has been shifted to nearby safer place and provided essentials and blankets, "he said.
Meanwhile both Anantnag and Kulgam district is plunged into darkness as snowfall damaged the power infrastructure. “ It had just started snowing when the electricity was snapped in our area,” said Wasim Ahmad of Iqbal market locality of old town.
He said usually the Anantnag town gets surplus power during snowfall, as electricity is snapped in rural areas but this time it was not so. “ If this is the power scenario of the main town imagine that of far-flung areas where it has snowed heavily and the infrastructure is damaged,” Ahmad added.
An official said efforts are on to restore electricity in Anantnag district. However, in Kulgam, he said electricity will remain affected due to damage in three 132KV transmission lines supplying power to Kulgam from Mir Bazar. Meanwhile, people preferred to stay indoors and business establishments remained shut.
Meanwhile, a fairly heavy snowfall interrupted power and road connectivity in south Kashmir's Shopian and Pulwama districts on Wednesday. The snowfall, which began on Tuesday evening and lasted till Wednesday afternoon, caused huge disruptions in utility services in both the districts.
The mountainous district of Shopian received around 2-2.5 feet of snow while Pulwama recorded 10 to 12 inches of snow.
According to the residents, the entire Shopian area has been reeling under darkness since late Tuesday night while the snowfall cut off many outlying villages from the district headquarter.
District Development Council ( DDC) member Raja Waheed said that scores of villages in Keegam and Kellar Tehsils remained buried under snow and the areas were yet to be made motorable.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Mushtaq Ahamd Simnani said that around 65 percent of the Priority First ( PI) roads were cleared in the district and most of the water supply schemes had been restore soon. He said that the snow clearing operation was going on in full swing.
Suhail Malik, Executive officer Municipal Council Shopian (MCS) said that all the main roads in the town had been made accessible. "We are working to clear the lanes and by-lanes of the town", Malik said.
He said that MCS helped to shift a pregnant lady who was snowed up in her home to a hospital. An official at Pulwama said that almost all the Priority First ( P1) roads were cleared while the Priority Second ( P2) roads would be cleared by Thursday morning.
He said that the department helped several pregnant women holed up in their houses reach the hospital amid heavy snowfall. He said that two residential houses were damaged in the Padibal area of Tral due to the snowfall.
The official said that the authorities were working hard to make all the motorable soon.