Unseasonal snowfall disrupts life in Kashmir Valley

Unseasonal snowfall disrupts life in Kashmir Valley
Unseasonal heavy snowfall paralyzed life in the Kashmir Valley Tuesday. The strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway was closed, educational institutions were shut and the state civil services exam was postponed.

The overnight snowfall lead to a dense two feet cover in north Kashmir's Gulmarg and south Kashmir's Pahalgam hill stations.

The authorities said over one foot of snow had accumulated at Banihal tunnel area on the 300-km-long highway, while incessant rains elsewhere had triggered landslides.

"The highway has been closed for all vehicular traffic and road opening operations will start only after the snowfall and rain stops," a traffic department official told IANS.

Over five inches of snow gathered here and in other towns of the Valley.

Authorities in the Kashmir Valley announced closing of all educational institutions Tuesday and said the re-opening would depend on weather conditions Wednesday.

The prestigious state civil services exam scheduled for Tuesday was also postponed by the state public service commission.

Many vehicles skidded off the road in the city because slippery road conditions made negotiating curves and bends on the roads difficult for motorists and drivers of public transport vehicles.

Electric supply across the Valley collapsed immediately after the snowfall and most areas in Srinagar city plunged into darkness Monday evening.

Officials said the unseasonal snowfall had brought down trees on transmission lines disrupting the entire power distribution system in the Valley.

Most traffic crossings and market squares in Srinagar city were water logged as officials of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation literally threw up their hands saying lack of electricity was preventing their drainage operations.

The snowfall had orchardists and farmers worried over damage to their fruit and oilseed crops.

"This is bad news for agriculture and fruit crops. Snow at this time of the year is not good news by any standard," said a farmer in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.

The Met Office said the weather would improve Wednesday onwards.

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