Weekend and a fresh spell of snowfall notwithstanding, the town of Murree wore a curiously deserted look on Saturday, with heavy machinery and vehicles belonging to the local administration and government agencies standing by to respond to any potential crisis in the area.
With heavy snowfall predicted to continue for the next 24 hours, Murree has received over eight inches of snow so far and around a foot of snow has covered Galiyat.
Long queues of tourists were seen at the Satra Meel and Phulgaran toll plazas, but only a limited number of vehicles were being allowed to proceed to Murree.
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Little more than 1,100 vehicles of tourists were observed on the roads of Murree, a far cry from the thousands upon thousands of cars overflowing the region during the previous spell of snowfall that was also punctuated with the ill-fated incident in which around two dozen lives were lost in a blizzard. On the other hand, vigilant security and administrative personnel were seen at hand either busy clearing snow from the roads.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Punjab Kamran Ali Afzal had visited Murree late Friday night to review all arrangements made to deal with emergency situations.
The Chief Secretary also paid a surprise visit to the control room set up in Murree and expressed satisfaction on all the arrangements made by the administration, police and other departments concerned to facilitate the tourists.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Authority (NHA) has dispatched required machinery and personnel to help clear snow from the potentially most-affected spots in Murree. The NHA has delivered two front blade loaders, a front blade dumper, a tractor and two jeeps to the site. In addition, ten tons of salt has been stockpiled.
Cold wave grips Kaghan
Heavy rains along with another wave of snowfall in Kaghan Valley have increased the severity of cold in the area, resulting in increased power outages in the area and increasing the hardships of the locals in the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2022.
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