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Rain, snow claim 17 lives in Jammu and Kashmir


Jammu, March 13 :

At least 17 people have died and 1,922 houses damaged due to heavy snowfall and rain in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said here Thursday.

As many as 57 cattle have also perished in the recent rains, Abdullah said after a high-level meeting to review the efforts to restore essential services hit by the heavy snowfall in the Kashmir Valley and hilly region of Jammu.

The 1,922 houses were damaged in Kashmir division while the damage to property in Jammu was being assessed, he said.

An amount of Rs.5 crore has been released for Kashmir and Rs.1.2 crore for Doda, Reasi, Kishtwar and Ramban districts of Jammu.

Two teams of officers headed by Chief Secretary Mohammad Iqbal Khandey and Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Arun Kumar Wednesday visited the affected regions to monitor the progress in restoration of essential services, Abdullah said.

Abdullah said he was informed that 80-90 percent electricity has been restored in most of the areas barring a few where severe damage has been caused to installations.

Transmission towers and transformers in Budgam, Shopian and Anantnag districts suffered damage due to the heavy snowfall.

The chief minister directed the installation of lightning conductors in the transformers.

“You should make a rule to install transformers along with lightning conductors,” he told the power department.

All major roads have almost been cleared of snow while work is going on for clearing other road links. Telecommunication services will also be totally restored in a couple of days.

Abdullah was briefed about the damage to water supply. As many as 175 water supply schemes in Jammu and 43 in Kashmir were affected but most of these have been restored.

He directed officials to arrange helicopter sorties for evacuating people from snow-hit areas. He also directed a close watch on the markets so that unscrupulous traders do not create fake scarcity of essential items in a bid to increase prices.