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Srinagar, Dec 30 (UNI) The Kashmir valley witnessed the coldest night, last night, in several decades as the minimum temperature dipped to minus 7.1 degrees Celsius, freezing major parts of the world famous Dal Lake.

However, the freezing parts of the lake started melting as the day progressed because of several degree above maximum temperature due to bright sunshine.

It was the coldest night after the minimum temperature was recorded at minus 7.1 degrees celsius, five degrees below normal.

The lowest temperature of minus 12.8 degrees Celsius was recorded on December 13, 1964 when water in the Dal lake was totally frozen.

The lake was again frozen in 1986 when people walked and children played cricket and ice hockey over the frozen surface.

It was second coldest night of the winter so far after the minimum temperature dipped to minus 5.6 degrees Celsius yesterday.

However, people in Leh, Kargil and Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia, continued to shiver after the temperature dipped to minus 20 degrees C to minus 25 degrees.

It was the coldest night so far during the '' Chalai Kalan'' 40-day-long coldest period of the winter, which started from December 21.

The entire region is not receiving any Western Disturbances (WD) from Arabian sea which were entering the state through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The sky remained clear, further intensifying cold during the night.

The WD entered the region when the higher reaches in the valley experienced snowfall and plains had light rains early this month.

Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia continued to shiver after the temperature dipped to minus 25 degree Celsius at some places.

At Leh and Kargil, the minimum fell to minus 20 degree Celsius.

Bitting cold, coupled with frequent and unscheduled power failure and rise in the prices of woolen and other warm cloths and coal, has affected normal life in the valley.

People at several places in the Kashmir valley took to streets in protest against unscheduled power cuts as power generation in the local hydel projects has dropped after considerable fall in the water level in rivers because of almost dry weather for the past three months.

However, the state government is importing power from different states, including Jharkhand to meet the power requirement.

The people at several places complained of water shortage.

The prices of woolen and other warm cloths has also increased while coal which was Rs 180 per bag last week is being sold at Rs 250 to Rs 300 per bag.

Similarly, fire-wood which was being sold at Rs 120 to Rs 150 per quintal in November is being sold at Rs 300 per quintal.

UNI

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