Saturday, February 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Srinagar-Jammu highway reopened
Fresh snow, rain lash region

Srinagar, January 31
The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, which was closed to traffic due to heavy snowfall yesterday, reopened this afternoon.

A traffic police official said the highway was thrown open after the snow and debris were cleared by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

However, only stranded vehicles were allowed to move, he said adding no vehicle was allowed from Jammu or Srinagar today.

The Zoji La, the highest point on the 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh National Highway, which was closed for six winter months in November last year, experienced about 2 ft of fresh snowfall during the past 24 hours. Reports of heavy snowfall were also received from Sonamarg and Baltal, the base camp of the holy Amarnath cave, which has also experienced about two to three feet of fresh snowfall.

Traffic on Gund and Sonmarg was also halted as about 1 ft of snow had accumulated on the road.

The borders of Keran, Karnah and Machil, which had about 2 ft of snowfall during the past 24 hours, remained cut off from the rest of the state.

The road from Natipora to the residence of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at the Nowgam bypass is submerged in rain water at several places.

However, rain and snowfall had brightened the prospects of crops which otherwise had been affected due to the long dry spell, experts said. The rains will help the fruit crops also, they added.

SHIMLA: The biting cold wave sweeping most parts of Himachal further tightened its grip over the region as tribal areas and other higher hills had another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall last night while the mid and lower hills were lashed by intermittent rains.

Shimla and its surrounding resorts of Kufri, Fagu and Wildflower Hall had another spell of moderate snowfall while Narkanda had heavy snowfall blocking traffic on the 320-km-long Hindustan-Tibet national highway. The traffic to the Rohroo and Jeory areas was being diverted via Basantpur and Kingal while the Chopal area of Shimla district was cut off by road.

Dense fog engulfed the region during the morning hours and thick ground frost occurred at many places in higher hills, hampering vehicular traffic. The minimum night temperature hovered around freezing point in the state capital, while the tribal valleys of Lahaul, Spiti and Pangi reeled under the trauma of freezing cold wave conditions with mercury ranging between minus 12 and minus 22 degree Celsius in different parts of tribal valley.

The sprawling Dhauladhar overlooking the Kangra valley and Churdhar ranges in Sirmaur district experienced heavy snowfall during the past 24 hours creating biting cold wave conditions in the Kangra and Paonta valley. The Rohtang Pass, Kunzam Pass, Saach Pass and Chansel Pass also had fresh snowfall making people groan under severe cold wave conditions in the Kulu, Chamba and Balh valley.

Gondla in Lahaul experienced 60 cm of fresh snow while the Rohtang Pass had over 100 cm of snow, reports here said.

CHANDIGARH: Light to moderate rains since late last night in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh disrupted rail and road traffic with several places in the region also experiencing power cuts, reports reaching here said today. Ambala (12.4mm) and Patiala (12.1mm) received maximum rainfall in Haryana and Punjab, respectively. Chandigarh received 3.6 mm of rain till this morning. Other places which received rain included Hisar, Rohtak, Kalka and Narnaul in Haryana and Amritsar and Ludhiana in Punjab, a met office spokesman said adding moderate to heavy rain is expected in the region during the next 24 hours.

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