Rawalpindi-The weather in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Monday got chilly due to heavy rain and snowfall in Murree and Nathia Gali. The citizens have taken sigh of relief after the long-awaited first winter rain that ended dry spell. Electricity supply was suspended in many areas soon after rain and the gas pressure was also zero causing troubles for the citizens. According to doctors the rain will help in ending viral diseases such as cough, fever, flu and bacterial influenza. Farmers of Potohar Region were also happy over the spell of rain as they termed it much better for crops. The rain that started on Sunday night caused the temperature drop to 11 degrees in twin cities and -2 in Murree and Nathia Gali.  According to Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) more rain is expected in next 24 hours.

The hilly areas will receive more snowfall, the department said.  The rainfall in the last 24 hours was recorded as Saidpur 14mm, PMD 11mm, RAMC 9mm, Chaklala 9mm, Golra 10mm and Bokra 11mm. According to district government officials and Rescue 1122, the water level in Nullah Leh was recorded as 5.74 feet in Kattarian whereas 3.38 feet at Gawalmandi. Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Muhammad Bin Ashraf has deployed extra force of traffic wardens and officers in Murree to facilitate the tourists coming across the country besides issuing special travel advisory to avoid any mishap in the hill station. According to details, heavy rain hit the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad dropping mercury level and making the weather much colder.

WAPDA and SNGPL suspended supply of electricity and gas causing immense trouble to the citizens. Similarly, the naked electricity wires exploded in many areas soon after rain stated pushing several areas into complete darkness. WAPDA complaint cell officials failed in repairing the burnt wires.

Saddar, Kashmir Road, Haider Road, Police Station Road, Hathi Chowk, Chota Bazaar, Rashid Minhas Road, Cannt and Garrison, Katcheri, Moragh, Sawan, Muree Road, Commercial, Raja Bazaar, City Saddar Road,  Dhoke Hassu, Dhoke Elahi Bux, Dhoke Mangtal, many areas of Kallar Syedan and Rawat, Adiala Road, Gulshanabad, Jarahi, Kehkashan Colony, Landco, Rehman Markaz, Shahpur, Gorakhpur, Hill View, Ali Town, Dhama Syedan, Kalhoor and Dhoke Miran Mustafa were among the areas where residents suffered a lot owing to electricity and gas loadshedding.

Moreover, rain water entered the houses and shops located in low lying areas damaging the household items and other things. Traffic wardens disappeared from several roads leading to traffic jam. The students of schools, colleges, universities and general motorists were disturbed by the heavy rain in the morning. There was also a very thin presence of students and employees in educational institutions and the government, semi government and private offices.  “Thank God that we have long awaited winter rain. We were worried because of the long dry spell as dust was making us sick,” said Ahmed Zia, a shopkeeper at Jhanda Cheechi. The dust has washed out with rain, he said. In the evening, huge rush could be witnessed outside eateries and stalls in Saddar and other parts of the city as the citizens thronged the bazaars and markets to enjoy chicken soup, Kashmiri tea, fried fish and other seasonal edibles.

Talking to The Nation, Dr Muhammad Hussain, a child specialist at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, said that residents were suffering from cold and flu and other ailments due to the dry weather and more patients were flocking the teaching hospitals for medical treatment. “Winter season in every part of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi brings along viral diseases including Viral Respiratory tract infection ‘common cold’ flue ‘Bronchitis ‘influenza Viral and bacterial influenza ‘Pneumonia,” he said. He said rain will break the nexus between environment and disease by eradication of vectors responsible for spreading of disease. He said that rain clears the environment, washes off notorious elements. “Children are prone to deadly diseases and the polluted environment in the overfed population can damage social and behavioural life. Rain can lessen the burden of paediatric diseases,” he said.

On the other hand, Murree and Nathia Gali received snowfall attracting tens of hundreds of tourists and adding to the miseries of locals. CTP devised a special traffic plan for facilitating the tourists.  The prices of coal, wood and LPG have been increased in the hilly area. The hotel owners are also charging double fee from the guests.

“The tourists should avoid double parking,” said CTO Muhammad Bin Ashraf in a statement. He said the tourists should visit Murree only on mechanically fit vehicles besides keeping steel chains with them to wrap over the tyres to move on snow-filled roads. He said extra force of wardens have also been deputed in the area. Similarly, a senior official of district government said highway department has been using heavy machinery for removing snow from roads to facilitate the commuters.


MURREE: A view of the first snowfall of winter season in Murree.–Online