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Snow disrupts life in Kashmir, lifeline highway shut for fourth day

It is the fourth day since the lifeline Srinagar-Jammu national highway has been closed as fresh landslides were reported along the only road that connects the Valley with the rest of the country. As per the reports from the officials, stranded vehicles along the highway have been taken to safer places amid continuous rain and snowfall.

“Jammu Srinagar NHW [national highway] blocked due to snow accumulation at Jawahar Tunnel and Landslides/mudslides/shooting stones at Samroli, Magarkot, Panthyal, Marog, Cafeteria mor, Dhalwas, Nashri @JmuKmrPolice,” tweeted Jammu & Kashmir traffic police.

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A group of tourists, traveling from Rajasthan made a near escape along the highway near Panthal when a landslide hit the vehicle they were traveling in. Police said the tourists were rescued and were safe.

Heavy snowfall since the weekend has disrupted life across Kashmir, especially affecting South Kashmir and the upper reaches of North and Central Kashmir. Places like the Kulgam district in South Kashmir have received up to six feet of snow. The heavy snowfall has prompted authorities to order rationing of petrol, diesel, and LPG cylinders as well as establish helplines at district headquarters. Residents have also complained about snow that hasn’t been cleared at many places and is hampering the public movement.

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The Jammu & Kashmir Disaster Management Authority separately issued an avalanche alert. “Medium level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Jawahar Tunnel, Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara and Tanghdar. Similarly, low-level avalanche warning has been issued for upper reaches of Gulmarg, Gurez, Kanzalwan, and Sonmarg,” said an official of the authority. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the weather was expected to improve from Thursday. “Present weather conditions are likely to continue till late tonight [Wednesday] or early tomorrow [Thursday]. We expect a significant improvement in weather from tomorrow…[Thursday] in Jammu and Kashmir. With that cold wave will return from January 7th [Thursday] onwards with warmer days and colder nights,”