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Rain forecast worries Kashmiris

Srinagar:The water level in Jhelum and other major rivers has dropped much below the danger mark on Wednesday, but the forecast of a fresh spell of rain and snow has left the people here worried.

"The water level stood at 15 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar) and at 12 feet at Sangam (Anantnag) today (Wednesday) morning," a senior official of the flood control department told IANS in Srinagar on Wednesday.

"Both these levels are much below the danger mark. We have, however, not lowered our guard and the flood alert continues to be in force in the Valley," the official said. 

The Met office has forecast moderate to heavy widespread rain in the state during the next three days.

"We are expecting moderate to heavy snow/rain in the state on April 2 and 3," Sonam Lotus, director of the local MET office said here.

"I do not think this can result in any major flood problem because the Western Disturbance causing this spell of inclement weather would be weaker than the one that hit the state earlier. We have issued an advisory that both surface and air traffic can be disrupted during the next three days." 

So far, 18 people have been killed in the floods that hit Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

Sixteen members of two families were buried alive on Monday as landslide swept their homes in Laden village of Badgam district, 40 km from Srinagar city.

Bodies of four women, a man and an infant, have so far been recovered from the debris and efforts are on to recover other bodies believed to be buried under it.

Two youth were washed away in swollen mountain streams in Udhampur district of Jammu region on Monday.

The authorities on Wednesday allowed one-way light vehicular traffic on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar road.

Traffic department officials said no vehicle would be allowed to move on the highway in the opposite direction on Wednesday.

Residents of flood prone Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Wazirbagh, Gogjibagh and other areas, who abandoned their homes on Sunday are yet to return to their homes.

These areas had borne the brunt of last year's unprecedented floods.

Working round the clock, the authorities have drained out all the waterlogged areas in city centre Lal Chowk.

Businesses have started as usual in Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Maisuma and other uptown markets which are the commercial hubs of the Valley.

Most shopkeepers had shifted their merchandise out of these areas to safer places during the last three days.

The authorities have postponed all university and school board exams in the Valley up to April 4. All schools will also remain closed on Wednesday.