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3/21/2007

Food shortage as rains, snow hit Kashmir Valley

Kashmir: March 16, 2007
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The Kashmir Valley is facing acute shortage of essential goods with the closure of the national Jammu-Srinagar highway for the fifth straight day yesterday due to heavy rains and snow. The only surface link to the Kashmir Valley with the rest of India was closed on Sunday after a fresh spell of heavy rains and snow. State authorities say it will take at least two more days to clear the mud and landslides at Panthal, a trouble spot on the 300km-long highway. Around 1,000 vehicles carrying essential supplies and hundreds of Kashmir-bound passengers are stranded on the highway. Power supply continued to remain disrupted for the fourth day in major parts of capital Srinagar and other towns following the heavy snowfall here. The spring snowfall has caused extensive damage to the cherry, almond, apricot and apple orchards, which were in full blossom. Horticulture experts are keeping their fingers crossed but they admit the damage to these famous Kashmir fruits is colossal especially the famous Kashmir cherry. Officials say the water supply would be restored in the city by this evening. The snowfall has led to drastic fall in the temperature though the sky is now clearing up.
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