Heavy snowfall cuts off Kashmir from rest of India

Boatmen use oars to break the ice layer of a frozen portion of Dal Lake after heavy snowfall in Srinagar on Wednesday.

Kashmir was cut off from the rest of India on Monday as the arterial Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and Mughal Road were closed due to snowfall across the valley, leaving thousands of vehicles stranded.

All four districts of south Kashmir have received heavy snowfall. The inter-district roads are disconnected, electricity is suspended and water supply is also disrupted. Most of the shops and businesses remained closed as people stayed inside their homes.

While snow clearance from several roads in Srinagar was being done, heavy snow accumulation closed most of the link roads and bylanes.

At Srinagar airport, the Border Roads Organisation snow clearance operations were underway but they didn't help to restore air traffic.

A BRO official said that while its machines are continuously clearing snow from the runway, no flight could land or take off from the airport due to poor visibility. The administration has ordered fuel rationing in the wake of the closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only road link that connects Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

Normally, the administration stocks essentials like fuel for the winter months. It is the first time that snowfall for three days has forced fuel to be rationed.

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