A women died and over 20 others were reported injured in different road accidents and house collapse due to incessant snowfall that crippled the system and caused a major power and communication breakdown in the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday.
Official sources said the house of Bashir Ahmad Ganai of Kansu Shopian collapsed under the massive snow accumulation resulting in the death of his 60-year-old mother Fazi.
In the same area of South Kashmir, a young woman, Mubeena of Rakh Naar, gave birth to a baby on the way to hospital. The baby died on the road.
According to official reports, over a dozen road accidents occurred and more than 50 houses were extensively damaged, causing injuries to at least 20 persons at different places since Monday afternoon when the Valley began experiencing an unexpected late-winter snowfall. While Srinagar recorded 10 to 14 inches of snowfall, 15 to 25 inches were reported from high altitude areas.
In over 25 years, there has been no major snowfall in the Valley. People were in fact waiting for almonds and tulips to bloom when the natural calamity struck. Scientists said the snowfall could increase the water base but would damage some crops and flowers.
The Valley remained completely cut off from the rest of the State and the country as its lifeline — the 290-km Srinagar-Jammu highway — remained closed for traffic due to heavy snowfall in Anantnag and Kulgam districts and massive landslides on the Ramban-Banihal patch.
Superintendent of Police (National Highway) Haseeb Mughal told The Hindu that there was no chance of restoring traffic on the highway till Wednesday. Intra-Valley train services have also been shut down. None of the 22 scheduled flights operated as the Srinagar airport remained closed.