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J&K snowed in: Severe winter cripples Valley

Feb 08, 2008 02:33 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Kashmir is still cut-off from the rest of the country for the sixth day on Friday. The Army has been called in for help after Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad reviewed the situation in the state. At a high-level meeting, Azad directed the administration to ensure prompt response to any possible emergency and said top priority should be accorded to reopening of the blocked Batote-Kishtwar and Doda-Bhadarwah roads so that essential supplies could be dispatched. Azad ordered the deployment of senior engineers at at the three district headquarters to monitor the situation. The Army is carrying out rescue operations and over 50 people have been rescued so far. In Kulgam, three people have died of cold. In Doda, a school building collapsed, but there are no causlties. People in Kupwara, Baramulla, Gurez, Drass, Kargil and Kokernag have been told not to go to the hilly areas. At least 25 people were buried alive in a snow avalanche that hit a cluster of houses in lower Munda near Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Official sources said locals informed authorities about the mishap after which the army and police have rushed to the spot and launched a rescue operation. The Met Department has warned of more snowfall. The Jawahar tunnel — which links the Kashmir valley to the rest of the country — and areas adjacent to the tunnel are under 10 to 15 feet of snow.