Snowfall brings cheers to people in Kashmir Valley

As crystal white flakes of snow started carpeting the Valley since the wee hours on Monday, thousands of Valleyites got a whole host of reasons to cheer up

NH Photo by Gulzar Bhat
NH Photo by Gulzar Bhat
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Gulzar Bhat

“I had serious apprehensions that this season may go without a good snowfall. But now I’m happy and have heaved a sigh of relief to see the whole valley enveloped in a rather thick blanket of snow” said Mohmmad Ashraf Mir, an orchardist from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

As crystal white flakes of snow started carpeting the Valley since the wee hours on Monday, thousands of Valleyites got a whole host of reasons to cheer up. Like Mir many orchardists who feared early sprouting of flowers due to the lack of a major snowfall were on cloud nine. Similarly it brought cheers to the faces of hoteliers and local business men who believe that the snowfall, for sure would draw more tourists to valley.

“This is an ideal season for winter tourism but due to less snowfall there were only a few visitors. Now as the Valley has experienced a major snowfall of the season, we are expecting a huge number of tourists” said Shabir Ahmad Dar, manager hotel Heevan Retreat, Gulmarg. “It is good news for both the domestic and International skiers as well” Mir added.

Pertinently, both horticulture and tourism sectors are the mainstay of economy of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. While horticulture provides livelihood to 4.5 lakh families, tourism accounts for nearly 7% share in the state’s annual income.

Snow accumulation on Srinagar-Jammu National highway

According to an official of local Meteorological department, Srinagar city, over the past 24 hours, has witnessed 23 centimeters of snow while the famous tourist resort of Gulmarg and Pehlgmam have recorded a snowfall of 44 and 39 centimeters respectively. North Kashmir’s frontier district Kupwara has received 11 centimeters of snow while in Qasigund and Banhial 19 and 10 centimeters of snow was recorded respectively.

According to weatherman, a visible improvement in weather would be seen since tomorrow morning however, there is a possibility of low to moderate snowfall or rains in the hilly areas.

Meanwhile, the 300 Km long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only surface link that connects the Valley with the rest of country remained closed for the second straight day due to heavy snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel and Banihal.

“The road has been closed keeping in view the slippery conditions and the possibility of land sliding in the “sliding prone area’’ along the highway, owing to heavy rains and snow” said an official of Traffic Control Room.

“As soon as there is an improvement in weather and we get a road clearance signal from all the “slide prone areas” along the national highway, traffic will be allowed to ply”, he added.

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