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Heavy snowfall cuts off Kashmir Valley, claims 8 lives

IANS | Srinagar |

Heavy snowfall on Thursday cut off the Kashmir Valley from the rest of the country for the third consecutive day as eight people died due to snow-triggered tragedies.

All surface and air links between the valley and the rest of India were snapped.

Heavy snowfall and landslides at many places closed the Srinagar-Jammu highway. 

"The highway has been closed for the safety of passengers and drivers. Nobody should undertake the journey unless we declare it open," a senior traffic department officer said.

All flights to and from Srinagar were suspended on Thursday due to poor visibility. 

No flights have operated since Tuesday from Srinagar.

Railway services between the Kashmir Valley and Bannihal town in Jammu region have also been suspended due to heavy accumulation of snow on the tracks.

Four members of a family were buried by an avalanche inside their home in Tulial village in Bandipora district on Wednesday.

The fifth member of the family, an 18-year-old, was miraculously rescued from under the debris.

An Army Major, Amit Sagar, was killed and seven soldiers were injured when an avalanche hit their camp in Sonamarg area of Ganderbal district on Wednesday.

The injured soldiers were rescued and were treated for injuries.

Three more persons, including a labourer, died due to roof collapse and cold also on Wednesday.

Authorities have issued avalanche warnings asking people living in avalanche-prone areas not to venture out of their homes till the warning was withdrawn.

There has been eight feet of fresh snowfall in Sonamarg, Gulmarg and some other areas in the mountains since Wednesday.

Reports of heavy snowfall came from all along the Line of Control in the valley and Kargil area of Ladakh region.

Inter-district connectivity remained disrupted in the valley on Thursday due to accumulation of snow on the roads.

People in Srinagar and other places complained of erratic power supply.

The weather office has said the weather would improve from Thursday evening.