Lakhs pray for rain-snow as cold wave condition prevail in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Jan 4 (UNI) Lakhs of people today prayed in different holy shrines and mosques for rain and snow as the Kashmir valley continued to face cold wave conditions though the minimum temperature went up by three degrees against minus seven degrees Celsius yesterday.

Meanwhile, severe cold, coupled with unscheduled and frequent power failure, water shortage and sudden increase in cold-related diseases, affected normal life.

Special prayers were offered for rain and snow by lakhs of people during the Friday congregation in the Kashmir valley, where, barring one to two feet of snowfall on upper reaches last month for a day, the weather remained completely dry for the past about four months.

The dry weather has affected different crops, including peas, onion, potato and wheat. Dry weather has also badly affected fruit trees, experts said.

It had also resulted in cold-related diseases, including cough, chest infection, fever, bad cold and headache. Long queues could be seen outside the general wards in the hospitals and medical shops.

The water level in major rivers, including the Jehlum and the Sindh and their tributaries was considerably low, affecting power generation in local hydel projects and water supply.

The Power Development Department (PDP), exporting power from different states on higher rates to meet the local requirement, still faced shortage during the peak hours, thus forcing the department to effect power curtailment.

People at several places in the valley took to the streets in protest against unscheduled and frequent power failure. The unmetered areas also faced daily four hour power cut twice in a week in the evening.

After experiencing minus seven degrees during two consecutive nights, the minimum temperature went up by 3 degrees today, still two degrees below normal. The night temperature also increased due to cloudy weather, a Met spokesman said.

He said the western disturbances, originating from the Arabian Sea, have almost touched the region through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He said people in the region would get some relief, depending upon how strong the western disturbances would be.

''We are not receiving proper WD because of which the entire region, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, is facing dry and cold weather,'' the spokesman added.

Situation in Kargil, Leh and Drass, the second coldest place in the world, remained unchanged with the mercury still below freezing point.

UNI BAS KD RS1553

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