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Cloudburst troubles Jammu and Kashmir

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Srinagar/Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir has been through an unusual situation during the last fortnight with cloudbursts occurring with frightening frequency.

Photo Credit: itimes.com
Photo Credit: itimes.com

The freak phenomenon after last year’s unprecedented floods has put the common man on the edge.

Six people were killed last week as multiple cloudbursts hit the north Kashmir mountain villages of Kulan, Rizan, Gagangir, Sonamarg, and the Baltal base camp of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra.

Many heads of cattle, besides sheep and goats, in the meadows have also reportedly perished because of cloudburst during this period.

The damage to private property and government infrastructure by cloudbursts in the Jammu region has been more, though fortunately no human being lost life due to this freak weather phenomenon in Jammu region.

Government buildings, including some schools and health centers, besides private property including shops and residential houses, were damaged in Poonch and Ramban districts because of cloudbursts.

Warm, sunny mornings have been followed by sudden gathering of clouds followed by high thunderstorm/ cloudburst activity during the last 15 days as the people look skywards to gauge from where the next tragedy is likely to strike.

“Last year, there was an unprecedented flood that devastated low lying areas in the Kashmir Valley and this year it is the higher reaches that seem to be targets of divine wrath. Nobody knows what is in store for us,” said a worried Muhammad Ramzan, 57, who lives in north Kashmir’s Kangan area on the Srinagar-Leh national highway.

Sanam Lotus, director of the local Met Office, explained the freak weather active at present in the state.

“This year, the frequency of cloudbursts and thunderstorms has been unusually high in Jammu and Kashmir. There has been more than normal thunderstorm and rainfall activity because of the monsoon in the state.

“Because of high rainfall activity in March we almost had a flood like situation on our hands this year,” Lotus told IANS.

“In fact, post the September 2014 floods, there has been record breaking rainfall in Jammu and Kashmir, but heavy rainfall does not necessarily cause cloudbursts.

“For cloudbursts to occur, three conditions are important: there should be enough moisture in the air, the atmosphere should be warm and it should also be unstable, which means there should be convective activity (warming of the earth),” Lotus added.

“Unfortunately, despite rains during the last 20 days that have been moderate to light, the general daily warmth does not reduce.”

Asked why Kashmiris generally believe the monsoon clouds do not cross the Pir Panjal Mountains and drain out before a few of them manage to cross the high mountains and reach the Valley, the weatherman said: “That is a myth.”

“The fact is that the monsoons do not only cross and pour in the valley, these even cross the Himalayas and reach the Ladakh region,” he added.

Lotus, however, had a heartening word as well. “The monsoon, as of today, is not very active over the state. Normally, the monsoon withdraws by September 15, but may be delayed by a few days”, he said.

Asked about the precautions against cloudbursts, Lotus said: “I am not an expert on that. But while choosing residential sites, people must select safe sites by which I mean they should take topography including slope, vulnerability, and the like into consideration.”

Lotus believed the vagaries of nature can be mitigated and their impact can be rendered less severe by putting knowledge and technology into practice.

“Believing that low-lying areas are flood-prone is okay, nobody guarantees complete safety from nature’s fury in the higher reaches. That seems to be the message,” said a stoic Ghulam Mustaffa, 64, a resident of Baramulla district.

(IANS)

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Republic Day functions pass off peacefully in J&K

Reports of peaceful Republic Day celebrations have also come from different district headquarters of the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh regions

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Smartly turned out contingents of army, paramilitary forces, state police and school children participated in the parade. Pixabay
Smartly turned out contingents of army, paramilitary forces, state police and school children participated in the parade. Pixabay
  • Peaceful Republic Day celebrations amid heightened security in J&K
  • Hoisting function and ceremonial parade were held at Maulana Azad Stadium
  • Mobile phone services were suspended as a precautionary measure

Amid heightened security, the Republic Day celebrations on Friday passed off peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir’s winter and summer capitals.

The main flag hoisting function and ceremonial parade were held at the Maulana Azad stadium in Jammu city where state governor N.N. Vohra unfurled the national flag and took the salute at an impressive parade.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, her cabinet colleagues, Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta, high court judges and senior army police and civil officials were also present at the function.

ALSO READ: India faces more threats to its republic today than it did 66 years ago

People from across the social spectrum and school children also participated in country’s 69th Republic Day celebrations.

Cultural programmes by school children was a highlight of this year's Republic Day celebrations both in Jammu city and different district headquarters of the state. Pixabay
Cultural programmes by school children was a highlight of this year’s Republic Day celebrations both in Jammu city and different district headquarters of the state. Pixabay

In Srinagar city, the main function was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium where Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri hoisted the Tricolour and took the salute at the parade.

Extraordinary security arrangements had been made this year for the Republic Day celebrations amid intelligence inputs that a non-local female suicide militant had entered Srinagar.

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Mobile phone services were suspended in the Valley as a precautionary measure, with the authorities saying they would be restored in the afternoon.

Reports of peaceful Republic Day celebrations have also come from different district headquarters of the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh regions.

Separatists had called for a shutdown across the Valley to attract international attention to the Kashmir dispute. (IANS)