The second spell of snowfall that began on Thursday continued intermittently in Galyat due to which temperatures plunged in hilly areas and Abbottabad.
The cold forced people to stay indoors as hill stations received up to a foot of snowfall. More snowfall is expected over the next few days, ruining travel plans for tourists for whom snow is an exotic rarity.
Nearly all link roads leading to Nathiagali, Ayubia, Khanaspur and adjoining areas are blocked because of the snow.
Snow removal machines helped Murree Road to reopen for traffic but the snow-covered Khanaspur Road, Riyala Road, Nathiagali-Bakot Road and other roads leading to remote localities were closed for vehicular traffic for the second day, cutting off access to thousands of villagers and paralysing life in the remote region.
According to SHO Donga Gali Azam Ali Shah, water and fuel shortage has further aggravated the situation as water supply lines are blocked due to the freezing cold, creating water scarcity in the area. He said the police has cleared a small strip of Khanaspur Road
which falls under their jurisdiction.
In reply to a question, Shah said the Galyat Development Authority has not yet awarded the contract for clearing link roads of the snow due to which the villagers have to face problem coming to Nathiagali, Donga Gali and Abbottabad. He said villagers traverse the link road on foot to reach Nathiagali and other areas.
“We melt snow on the stove to use it as drinking water,” said Sardar Hukumdad of village Mochidhara talking to The Express Tribune. “We are facing water shortage for the last three days and fuel shortage is also expected to add to the villagers’ difficulties.”
Abbottabad also received mild snowfall and rain. It was difficult for motorists to travel on the Abbottabad Murree Road made slippery due to continued snowfall. Jeeps and Suzuki high-roofs with chains on their tyres are the only source of transport on this road.
It also snowed in Balakot, Kohistan, Battagram, Naran and Kaghan, the latter two popular tourist destinations.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2012.