MUZAFFARABAD: Heavy rain, land sliding and snowfall in the upper areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday blocked the main arteries leading to Leepa and Neelum Valleys.
The 200 kilometres-long Neelum Valley road was blocked from Sharda to Taubutt owing to heavy snowfall. The Bagh –Chikar road was also closed due to snow near Sudhan Gali.
The snow-covered Leepa Valley was also cut off from all kinds of vehicular traffic from Rashian for the past 20 days where around four feet of snow fell.
Raja Mauzam, a spokesman for the state Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), said that the Haveli road connecting Bagh and Rawalpindi was also blocked owing to heavy snowfall near Mahmood Gali and Badara.
“We are advising the people to avoid travel during the night on both the Kohala and Jehlum Valley roads where boulders and falling stones can be dangerous for people and vehicles,” Mauzam said.
Owing to the blockage of roads essential commodities have started to run out in Neelum and Leepa valleys.
“We are facing a shortage of chicken , fresh vegetable and eggs for the last one week. The government should send [snow plouhg] machines to Rashian and Neelum to clean the snow from the road,” said Ishaq, a resident of Sharda said.
Another resident of Leepa valley said that they cannot travel from Rashian to Leepa in their vehicles but it was the duty of the government to deploy a snow clearing machines at Rashian to forge a path for the people to make it on foot.
Meanwhile, Met office said that rain is expected in lowers areas of AJK while the hills will receive snow over the next two to three days.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2017.