RAWALPINDI: After the Met Office predicted rain in the garrison city and snow over the hills of Murree, the caretaker Punjab government has asked district administrations to make necessary arrangements to avoid any untoward incident in the coming days.

The meteorological department has forecast rain in the upper parts of the country including Rawalpindi and Islamabad and snow in Murree from Feb 26 (tomorrow).

It stated that snowfall might disrupt and cause closure of roads in Murree, Galiyat, Naran, Kaghan, Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Shangla, Astore, Hunza, Skardu, Neelum valley, Bagh, Poonch and Haveli on Feb 26 (evening/night) and 27.

It also warned of a possibility of landslides in upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Murree, Galiyat, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, adding that wind-thunderstorm might damage loose structures like electric poles, vehicles and solar panels.

The Met Office advised farmers and tourists to remain extra cautious during the spell, and asked all relevant authorities to remain on ‘alert’ and take necessary measures to avoid any untoward incident during the forecast period.

The provincial government directed the Murree district administration to ensure presence of officials in the complaint cell round the clock while control rooms and facilitation centres should be connected with the landline number and mobile phones late at night as soon as snowfall began.

Murree Deputy Commissioner Agha Zaheer Abbas Shirazi said the process of removal of snow from roads would be monitored through CCTV cameras in the control room, adding that necessary machinery used for the purpose would remain fully operational and salt would be sprinkled to clear the roads.

He said implementation of the traffic management plan would be ensured and all necessary measures had been taken to protect the local population and tourists.

Meanwhile, Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) canceled holidays of its staff in the garrison cityand deployed teams round the clock in four sectors to drain out water in case of heavyrain.

Wasa spokesman Umer Farooq told Dawn that the contigency plan had been finalised to avoid any flood-like situation and that all bottlenecks had been cleared ahead ofrain to see to it that there was no hurdle in the smooth flow of rainwater.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2024

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