January 7, 2017 4:33:14 pm
The first heavy and significant snowfall of this winter in Shimla, starting on Friday night, threw normal life completely out of gear as traffic, telecommunication links, water supply were disrupted while a large number of tourists were stranded. The electricity was snapped at many places due to the damaged power lines.
In Shimla, certain areas like the Mall Road, the Ridge, the US Club and Jakhu hills had accumulated more than a foot of snow, according to the Met office. Director General of Police (DGP) Somesh Goyal spoke to IANS and said it was after several years that Shimla received so much of snow. Mercury dropped sharply with Shimla recording a low of 0.2 degree as the snowfall ended a three-month long dry spell.
The upper Shimla and Kinnaur region were cut off after the heavy snow blocked roads bringing vehicular traffic to a halt beyond Shoghi, 13 km from Shimla, where a large number of travellers were stuck. Essential commodities like milk and vegetables did not reach Shimla while heavy snow uprooted trees, snapped overhead power transmission lines and disrupted telecommunication services. The state capital and several other areas were without power for more than 10 hours. State electricity board engineers and workmen were trying to restore power but it was not an easy task amid the continuing snowfall.
Public Works Department men are working round the clock to clear the snow and remove the fallen trees while engineers are on the job to restore power supply at the earliest, an official spokesperson said. SP Shimla DW Negi has cautioned the tourist and locals to restrict outdoor movement as there was threat of snow-laden trees falling on roads. A large number of tourists who made a beeline to Shimla were stranded at Shoghi, officials said.
Shimla received 40 cms of snow till Saturday noon while key tourist resorts of Kufri, Fagu and Narkanda had 45-55 cm of snow. The snowfall was preceded by rains and sleet. Shimla received 20 mm of rains. However, the snowfall has brought cheers to apple growers as it is considered white manure for the produce. The three-month long dry spell has ended which will be beneficial for the Rabi crop.
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