Snow in Shimla brings cheer to farmers, hoteliers (Lead) (With Images)

February 11th, 2009 - 7:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghShimla, Feb 11 (IANS) Snow in Himachal Pradesh and widespread rain in its lower reaches has brought cheers to the farmers and hoteliers in the region.
Shimla and nearby tourist spots saw the first good snowfall of the season Wednesday morning, giving the resort and its neighbouring areas a picturesque look.

“Shimla and its nearby places received significant snowfall early this (Wednesday) morning. This is the first good snowfall of the season in almost the entire district,” Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office, told IANS.

Shimla saw its first snowfall Jan 4, but it was only a mild spell.

He said chances of another spell of snow in the state are good again on Feb 13 due to western disturbances.

The residents of this town shivered in the chilly weather as icy winds brought down the minimum temperature to 0.2 degrees Celsius.

The snow has brought a ray of hope for the apple-growers in the region.

“The prolonged dry spell in the mid-hills is finally over. This spell (of snow) is good for the apple, peach, plum, apricot and almond crops,” said P.S. Chauhan, a horticulture expert at the Solan-based Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.

He said negligible or total lack of snowfall and rains in most fruit-growing areas of the state in December, January and so far this month had reduced the moisture content in the soil.

“Still most of the fruit-growing areas in Kullu and Mandi district have been experiencing a long dry weather spell. Even in Shimla district, Wednesday’s snow is not enough to maintain sufficient moisture content of the soil till the flowering season for apple crop (April-May),” he said.

According to meteorological office, Mount Jakhu, the highest peak in Shimla, received more than 15 cm of snowfall. Similarly, Shimla’s nearby tourist spots like Kufri, Fagu, Naldhera and Narkanda experienced good snowfall.

Bhang and Solang ski slopes near Manali in Kullu district also received 11 to 12 cm of snow.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district received 30 cm and 28 cm snow respectively.

The meteorological office said the Kothgarh-Thanedar belt in Shimla district, Karsog belt in Mandi district and the Kullu valley would have chances of good snowfall in the next 48 hours.

The Kothgarh-Thanedar belt is known for producing delicious apples of Royal Delicious, Red Delicious and Rich-a-Red varieties.

Tourism industry representatives are also happy after the snow in Shimla.

“We are now hopeful that the good spell of snow will attract the tourists back to the erstwhile summer capital of British India in the days to come, especially this weekend,” said Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp general manager Yogesh Behl.

Thousands of tourists who had earlier visited Shimla to witness snowfall had to return disappointed despite cloudy skies.

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