Friday, January 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Heavy snow at Khajjiar

CHANDIGARH, Jan 13 (UNI) — Shimla and its surrounding areas had the third snowfall of the season, even as the entire Kashmir valley and Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh remained cut off from the rest of the country following heavy snowfall in north-west hills.

The entire tribal belt comprising Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts and Pangi and Bharmour areas of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh were under a thick blanket of snow following heavy snowfall for the third day today, making the people smart under inhospitable conditions with the mercury plummeting several degrees below the freezing point.

The Kashmir valley remained cut off from the rest of the country for the second day today following closure of the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the sole road link, and cancellation of Indian Airlines flights due to heavy snowfall and landslides.

The flights were cancelled due to snowfall and poor visibility at the Srinagar airport where about 36 mm snow was recorded till 0830 hours this morning. The snow on the runway was cleared but it was not possible to operate any flight because of poor visibility, an Indian Airlines spokesman said.

A traffic official said the highway remained closed for the second day today due to heavy snowfall and landslides between 198 and 204 km. Hundreds of vehicles, including trucks loaded with essential commodities were stranded on the highway. Banihal on the highway received 145 cm of snow till 0830 hrs.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) responsible for the maintenance of the Jammu-Srinagar highway has pressed into service its sophisticated snow clearance machine to clear the snow.

A report from Shimla said the capital town of Himachal Pradesh had the third snowfall of the season this afternoon. The snowfall was continuing when last reports came in.

The Lahaul-Spiti district, including the Pin valley, was cut off from the rest of the country, today following snowfall during the past three days in the entire border belt of Himachal Pradesh.

Traffic on the 320-km-long Hindustan-Tibet highway remained disrupted beyond Narkanda. The traffic to Rampur and Khakri areas had been diverted via the Basantpur-Kingal road.

The tourist resorts of Kufri, Narkanda, Fagu and Khadapathar in Shimla district and the key tourist resort of Manali, in Kulu had snowfall for the second day today. Narkanda recorded about 30 cm snowfall, Kufri 25 cm and Khadapathar about 40 cm till this noon.

The commanding snow-clad Dhauladhar ranges, overlooking the lushgreen Kangra valley, have had heavy snowfall for the past 72 hours.

A report from Chamba said the famous Dalhousie tourist resort had 50 cm snowfall till this morning. The famous Khajjiar Lake in Chamba district was covered under a thick layer of snow.

The Chamba district town also experienced about 10 cm snowfall till this morning. Kashmir’s famous resort Gulmarg recorded 38 cm snow, Pahalgam 32 cm and Sonamarg 60 cm.

Reports of heavy rain came in from Yusmarg, Charar-e-Sharief, Daksum, Aharbal, Sheshnag, Mahagunas, Panjtarni and the holy Amarnath cave shrine.

Dras, the second coldest place in the world, where the temperature dipped to minus 22 degrees celsius had 22 cm of snowfall during the past 24 hours.

The lower hills in the region and the plains of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh were lashed by moderate to heavy rain, disrupting life at several places.

Jammu with 81.4 mm of rainfall turned out to be the wettest place in the region followed by Guler with 78.5 mm in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Nagrota Surian in the district registered 70 mm rainfall.

Reports of heavy rain have also came in from Hamirpur district for the third day today. Nadaun recorded the highest rainfall of 68.8 mm in the district.

Reports of heavy rain came in from Dharamsala, Kangra, Palampur, Jogindernagar, Mandi, Sundernagar, Pandoh, Kulu, Bhuntar, Bilaspur, Sujanpur Tira, Hamirpur, Una, Nahan and Solan in Himachal Pradesh.

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