Two killed, 28 injured as roof of PTC collapses due to snow

Two killed, 28 injured as roof of PTC collapses due to snow

16 January 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Life across Kashmir valley remained disrupted for the second consecutive day today due to fresh overnight snowfall cutting off the Valley from rest of the country and creating crisis of essential commodities. Two persons including a policeman were killed and 28 other policemen injured when roof of a Police Training College collapsed here in South Kashmir this afternoon due to snow. The air traffic remained suspended for the second consecutive day today. No flight landed or took off from Srinagar International Airport today due to bad weather and poor visibility. The Airport Authority of India looking after the operations of the Srinagar International Airport tried its best to operate flights from Srinagar but poor visibility and bad weather hampered the operation, said Mohammad Shafi, PRO Airport Authority of India. 'We started snow clearance early in the morning. The snow clearance machines were pressed into service and we cleared the runway and tarmac of the airport but the bad weather and poor visibility led to the cancellation of all the flights', the PRO added. This is the second day running that the flights to and from Srinagar were cancelled. Yesterday all Srinagar flights were cancelled due to bad weather and poor visibility at Srinagar International Airport. About 16 flights operate from the airport daily and for past two days Srinagar is cut off from rest of the country. Heavy snowfall in North Kashmir's Uri area, the crossing point for trans-Line of Control (LoC) trade and weekly bus service, forced the authorities to suspend the trade and bus service. The area recorded around 3 feet snowfall and there is avalanche threat along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway. The weekly trans-LoC Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service known as Karwan-e-Aman that connected the two cities and runs on every Monday was cancelled. The decision was taken yesterday after snowfall blocked the highway and Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) issued avalanche warning. The authorities also suspended the trans-LoC trade that takes place four days a week from every Tuesday to Friday. The trade authorities said here that no trade will take place this week due to the closure of the highway. In the morning the summer capital Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir valley were in thick blanket of fresh snow today. The snowfall that started Saturday evening is still continuing intermittently. The snow was caused by the Western Disturbances over the region. However, Director of the Meteorological Department Sonam Lotus said here that the western disturbance active over the Valley is likely to weaken by evening and there would be decrease in precipitation from Monday evening onwards. The authorities said here that around 8 inches of fresh snow accumulated in Bandipora, 10 inches in Gurez, 8 inches in Tangmarg, 6 inches in Gulmarg, 7 inches in Babareshi, 8 inches in Kupwara, one feet in Rafiabad, 6 inches in Dangiwacha, one feet in Sheeri Baramulla, 5 inches in Baramulla town, 4 inches in Anantnag, 7 inches in Ashmuqam, 6 inches in Wanpoh, 2 inches in Damhal Hanji Pora, 8 inches in Shoipan town, 6 inches in Pulwama, 6 inches in Lethpora, 6 inches in Awantipora, 6 inches in Tral, 6 inches in Rajpora, 8 inches in Srinagar, 10 inches in Budgam, 9 inches in Ganderbal, one feet in Yusmarg and 9 inches in Khansahib. The Mechanical Engineering Department pressed snow clearance machines into service early in the morning to clear the snow from the city roads and other towns of Kashmir valley. The Airport road and main city roads were given preference and it was followed by the highways and other important roads that lead to district headquarters. The major roads were through in the afternoon but the traffic was very little because of the slippery roads due to continuous snowfall. However, the internal roads in Srinagar and other towns are yet to be cleared as it was snowing throughout the day. In the meanwhile, one police man died while 28 others were injured when rooftop of Police Training College Lethpora in South Kashmir's Pulwama district collapsed this afternoon due to the weight of snow. The dead has been identified as Vikramjeet Singh of Samba in Jammu region. He succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The seriously injured policemen have been identified as Constables Shamim Ahmad, Sunil Sharma, Bilal Ahmad and Raja Nazir. They have been shifted to SKIMS hospital in Srinagar for treatment. Around 1000 policemen are undergoing training in the College where the mishap took place. Police authorities have ordered an inquiry into the incident, which will be conducted by IGP Armed Rouf-ul-Hassan. ADGP Armed K Rajendra is visiting to spot tomorrow. One more person died when he fell from the roof top at Padshahi Bagh, Srinagar while he was clearing the snow. Identified as Mohammad Ayub Wani, he was removed to hospital for treatment but died on way to hospital. With the closure of the National Highway for the second day today, Kashmir valley is running out of supplies like Liquefied Petrol Gas (LPG), kerosene, fresh vegetables, milk, chicken and mutton. Despite the market checking squads set up by the Government to control the prices, the rates of chicken, mutton, vegetables and fresh fruits has gone up and LPG is being sold in black market at exorbitant prices at some places. Muneer Ahmad, a resident of Rajbagh locality in Srinagar said that he bought chicken at ' 110 per kilogramme against the Government rate of ' 85. Javed Ahmad of Peer Bagh said that mutton is being sold at ' 300 when the Government rate is ' 230. The vegetables are out of stock and no fresh vegetables are in the market. Ghulam Nabi who sells fresh vegetables in Jawahar Nagar area said that for past one week he is without any fresh vegetables. The local vegetables like spinach and turnips are under snow and those being brought from outside Kashmir couldn't reach here due to closure of the highway, he added. The residents are now forced to take dried vegetables like dried turnips, tomatoes, brinjals and pumpkins. Majority of the residents had given up eating dried vegetables that were mostly consumed when the highway used to get closed for weeks together in the winters. The auto rickshaw's operating in Srinagar city are also charging double the normal rates. Muhammad Amin, a resident of Hyderpora said that he normally pays ' 60 from Lal Chowk but today he was asked to pay ' 120. He said that authorities have failed to prevent fleecing of passengers and consumers. The LPG that is in short supply due to the closure of the highway is being sold at places at Rs 700 against Rs 431 fixed by the Government. The Senior Sales Manager at the Hindustan Petrol Corporation Limited (HPCL), Haroon Hamid, said here that the company distributed 7500 LPG cylinders of 5 kilogramme each to the consumers across Kashmir today. The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Dr Asghar Samoon had asked the oil companies to fill 5 kilogrammes LPG in the cylinders till the cooking gas crisis is over. The HPCL, the only oil company that has bottling plant here, started distribution of 5 kilogramme LPG cylinders from today to meet the crisis. Haroon said that they have 180 metric ton of the LPG available at the plant and it can last for 5 days. He said that 35, 000 cylinders are in stock and 1.2 lakh LPG cylinders are on its way from Jammu and the tankers are stranded at Ramban. He said with the re-opening of the highway the LPG crisis will be over.