The incessant snowfall and rains over the last few days across Kashmir has cut the Valley off from the rest of the country with arterial Srinagar- Jammu Highway remaining closed for the vehicular movement.
Nearly 300 passengers travelling to Jammu were stranded near Jawahar tunnel on the highway and were shifted to safer locations in Banihal. They were also provided with food, Senior Superintendent Ramban Anita Sharma was quoted as saying by News 18.
As the snow accumulated on the highway, the police said some soldiers were also trapped who were rescued later.
The unexpected snowfall has also shut down the power supply in Srinagar and other districts of the valley adding to the woes of people under sub-zero temperatures.
The district administrations have pressed the snow clearance machines into service to clear the roads of snow and allow vehicles and passenger movement.
The Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed while commenting on the worsened power situation tweeted, "We are facing near full power outage. Have been desperately trying for restoration of power supply.We use 1300 MW normally, the system is transmitting only 80 MW now.Massive outage of Grid Stns & Transmission lines due to trees full of foliage.Abt 3500 KM length of line to be restored. 7000 plus employees of PDD on job to restore. We are fighting natures fury to restore the power supply on WAR FOOTING.Entire staff & administration fighting it out on the ground for restoration. We understand fully that this is collectively very tough all of us, however please know that we will work all through the night & do out best to restore asap."
However, the electricity supply was restored at only selected places in Srinagar on Saturday night and a majority of the households remained without power under freezing cold conditions.
The untimely snowfall has also led to huge losses for the apple growers community at a time when the harvesting season was going on. The apples that were packaged and transported to the other states were also reportedly stuck on the highway which could lead to further damage.
"More than half of the apple produce has still not been harvested.The huge chunks of snow has either led to spontaneous fall of apples on the ground or damaged the apple bearing tree braches. In any case, the cold temperatures will cause serious damage to the apple quality," Muhammad Yusuf Shah, an apple orchadist from Shopian town told the International Business Times, India.
While the horticulturists are assessing the losses worth hundreds of crores, the State Horticulture department said that it is yet to start an official survey to estimate the damages.