KATHMANDU, May 11: Just two days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled visit to Mustang, the district has been hit hard by heavy snowfall. Another mountainous district Manang is also experiencing thick snowfall.
Snowfall had started in upper areas of Mustang from Wednesday midnight and continued till Thursday evening. Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang along with Gharapjhong and Thsang and their surrounding areas have been affected, according to Tulsi Dahal, conservation officer of Jomson-based Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP).
“Compared to other places, the district headquarters received less snowfall. Upper areas were more affected,” he informed. “The snow is about four inches thick.”
According to the locals, snowfall at this time of the year is unexpected. “Snowfall is usually expected during winters. The snow at this time of the year does not create much impact in agriculture as well. However, tourists enjoyed the snowfall,” added Dahal.
Chief District Officer Shishir Paudel said air and land transportation are operating normally despite heavy snowfall. “Areas around Muktinath are covered in snow and there is no trace of sunshine. However, there has not been any problem for us,” he said.
Despite the snowfall, the route for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains open. He is preparing to visit Muktinath on Saturday during his state visit to Nepal. Modi is scheduled to visit Janakpur first and then travel to Muktinath via a helicopter.
The weather will be normal but cloudy in Jomsom and Muktinath areas during the day of Modi's visit, according to Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD).
'There is little chance of rainfall and snow on Friday. This may lead to increase in cold temperature. However, the weather will be clear on Saturday during Modi's visit,” informed a meteorologist from Pokhara office of MFD.
(Our correspondents Santosh Pokharel from Pokhara and Sushil Thakali from Mustang contributed to this report)