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Srinagar, Jan 03: The power scenario in Kashmir has turned from bad to worse as the state’s Power Development Department (PDD) is following its whims and desires rather than the designated curtailment schedule of providing electricity.
The situation remains so despite the Centre, last month, announcing an additional grant of over 700 MWs to the state.
Sources, however, say the grant won’t provide any relief to the people as the state government did not have the required capacity to transmit the additional power supply.
“One of the factors responsible for this sad situation is the existing transmission system that has not the sufficient carrying capacity from the northern grid,” a source in PDD said.
As such, common people have been left to fend for themselves as the erratic power supply has made lives miserable.
Residents of at least a dozen metered and non-metered areas of the summer capital and a few other districts expressed their anger over the unpredictable power supply, which they claim is the poorest they have experienced in recent years.
For instance, locals of Srinagar’s Safa Kadal and its peripheries including Sekidafar, Ganderpora, Zari Masjid, Waniwar, Noorbagh, Rathpora and Malik Saab are livid with the supply.
“We only receive around four hours of electricity, at times it is six. Almost every day we have to eat our supper under lantern light,” says Umar Rashid, a resident of Safa Kadal periphery.
Rashid’s, like most old-city areas, has not been metered yet.
Hardly a kilometre away from where Rashid lives, Barbarshah has a different tale of woes.
“Aes che aasaan dohoi waer (each day we face curtailment during evening hours),” says Irfan, a middle-aged man, whose home is not more than a 500 metres away from city-centre Lal Chowk.
In local parlance, “Waer”, when it comes to electricity in Kashmir, is used for a scheduled cut-off of power during evening hours, mostly from 6 pm till 10 pm, when people need it the most.
Traditionally, only non-metered areas used to witness “waer” once or twice a week.
“We face it seven days a week,” claims Irfan.
“How can we wait until 10 pm that too of winters to have our supper? We are done with our food and chores by 9:30 pm. We don’t wait for it (electricity) anymore,” he says.
Furious with the poor supply, residents of Munawar, an area close by Barbarshah, blocked movement of traffic on the busy crossing in the uptown city for nearly an hour on Wednesday.
They, eventually, were appeased by cops, on whose ‘assurance’ the locals dispersed.
Go up the city, residents in areas like Natipora, Mehjoor Nagar, Padshahi Bagh, Nowgam, Chanapora and the like count only six to eight hours of electricity.
“That too in patches, like a sub-schedule within that schedule that they are supposed to follow. So, if they are supposed to resume it (electricity supply) from 9 am to 12:30 during the day, they will still cut it in 15 minute or so intervals. We sometimes feel, they take pleasure switching the supply on and off,” says Bilal Haroon, a resident of Chinar Lane in Natipora.
Irate comments, quips, and ‘this-is-the-limit’ remarks against PDD, was the response of many other residents of Nowgam, Dalgate, Magarmal Bagh, Batamaloo, Rainawari, Ellahi Bagh, Habba Kadal and Habak this reporter spoke with.
Chadoora’s Sogam and Anantnag’s main town has a similar tale to tell. All claiming that PDD hardly follows any schedule.
Chief Engineer PDD, Shehnaz Goni, however, refuses to trust the people’s statements.
“I don’t believe that any area from entire Kashmir gets less than 8 hours of electricity. About unscheduled curtailments, we do face such situation when there’s overloading in areas,” she told The Kashmir Monitor.
Asked would there be any improvement in the supply or should people expect the same or worse, she said: “The supply situation would remain the same, at least for this month. May be we will see some improvement in February.”


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5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass



Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.

The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.

The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.


The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.

“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.

A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.

“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.

A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”

Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.

A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.


Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation

Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.

In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.

The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.

Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.

Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.

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Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today



Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.

With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.

“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.


He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.

On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.

Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.

Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.

Jammu city recorded 5.3  degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

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Lead Stories

Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian



Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.

Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.

The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.


A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.

Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.

This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.

Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.

In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.

A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.

“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.

The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.

Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.

A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.

He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.

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