Shimla: Heavy snow has pounded much of the north western Himalayan belt, throwing normal life out of gears as traffic came to a standstill, big trees lay uprooted, power lines stand snapped, piped water lines are frozen, several houses and cars have suffered damage and all life shivered indoors with inadequate heating systems around.
Senior government officials here in Himachal Pradesh were drawing up emergency plans to put heavy machinery into use for clearing up roads for a start.
Superintended police Abhishek Dular said, “yesterday a lot of people faced trouble on the roads and elsewhere but everyone was safe,”
There was no bread, milk or newspaper morning supply in Shimla as roads connecting the state capital with the outside world were blocked.
With electricity supply cut off, internet and mobile phone connectivity was also affected as batteries discharged out faster in the cold conditions.
With the day opening up to a bright sunny morning, tourists, who were properly equipped , made the best out of the weather as it was after a intense cold dry spell that the hills have had such a heavy round of snow.
The farming community too was a happy lot, as a good snowfall helps to meet chilling needs of temperate trees such as apples, apricots and several others.
Emergency services in hospitals were having a difficult time in coping up as cold conditions and commuting problems badly affected the morning movement of doctors and paramedic staff from reaching work place to relieve overnight shift workers.
Heading out to work early in the morning, Dr Vinet Aggrawal, an orthopaedician at IGMC hospital said, “other than the cold and having to walk in snow, work has to be attended to.”
Having walked in deep snow for over an hour and still another hour away from reaching IGMC hospital, Dr Sanjeev Sharma, incharge of Radiology department said, “it is a rough day and responsibilities have to be discharged.”
Several Kashmiri labourers, out with snow shoveling gear, were in heavy demand for hardly anybody was prepared for such heavy snow.
Hotel owners packed with snow enthusiast tourists were having difficulty in meeting service needs of guest staying put in rooms.
Government employees who have to reach office on time to mark attendance on bio-metric machines were late as hardly anyone was able to reach office on time. Several decided to take a day off to stay home.
Reports reaching the state headquarters said that there was heavy snow at Kufri, Narkanda, Manali, Dhalousie, Kharapattar, higher reaches of Chamba. Roads were blocked at many places and with power line having snapped there was no electricity also.
Photos by: Ravinder Makhaik