GILGIT: Heavy snowfall that blanketed Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) three days ago is dubbed “timely”. The snowfall is a good omen that will help the country in overcoming water crisis in summer, according to locals and agriculture experts.
“Pakistan is an agricultural country and requires suffficient water in summer,” said Nafees Ahmed, an agriculturist on Thursday,
describimg the snowfall ahead of sowing season a good omen.
“For a bumper crop, heavy snowfall in winter is vital,” he said, adding that if snowfall didn’t occur by the start of February, chances of water shortage in summer is inevitable.
Gilgit received heavy snowfall on Monday turning the surface of the town white. Over four feet (122cm) of snow was recorded by mid-day, breaking the record of 11 years in the capital city of the mountain region.
Khalid Iqbal, a resident of Astore, said that more than 4 feet of snowfall had occurred in his town but it was much more on the mountains. “Walking in snow became difficult,” said Iqbal who had come to Gilgit
on a business trip.
Reports reaching Gilgit from Skardu and Ghizer indicated heavy snowfall had taken place in both the valleys, blocking roads at some points.
Agriculturists say that heavy snowfall in winter guarantees a prosperous summer for the rest of country as agriculture land in Punjab, Sindh and
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will receive a better share of water. “Getting water will be beneficial for crops,” said an official in the Agriculture Department.
Following unprecedented floods last year that wrecked havoc with agriculture across the country and G-B, devastating standing crops and orchards.
Five people died in Skardu this week as the roof of a house caved in. Moreover, rain and snowfall blocked Karakoram Highway at two places in
Kohistan, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded on either side of the blockage.
Officials in the disaster management authority said that about 72,000 kilometer land had been affected by floods, last summer.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2011.