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Taps jammed, tanks frozen: Water crisis throws life out of gear in Kashmir

People heating up a frozen tap in Srinagar on Thursday (KM/Umar Ganie)

Srinagar:  Hundreds of households are struggling for a drop of water as the record dip in temperature has frozen taps and other supply lines across Kashmir.

 Chillai Kalan chill broke the three-decade-old record with the temperature in Srinagar plummeting to minus 8.4 degree Celsius on Wednesday night.

Water supply lines and storage tanks have completely frozen due to sub-zero temperatures.

People heating up a frozen tap in Srinagar on Thursday (KM/Umar Ganie)

 In Srinagar city, many areas are without water supply. Many people were seen using torches to melt the freeze in taps and pipelines.

 “For the past two days, we are facing a water crisis as the pipes and supplying lines have frozen. What is more problematic is that the storage tank has also frozen. We are made to wait till noon for the ice to melt,” said Sajad Ahmad, a resident of Mehjoor Nagar.

People heating up a frozen tap in Srinagar on Thursday (KM/Umar Ganie)

 Residents of Batamaloo and Bemina too are going through similar problems. People were seen lighting bonfires to melt the freeze inside supply pipes.

 “Early morning we have to light a bonfire, but to no avail. We appeal the authorities to supply potable drinking water through tankers,” said Muneem Ahmad a local resident.

Icicles hanging from a roof of a house in Srinagar (KM/Umar Ganie)

 In many villages of North and South Kashmir, the frozen taps and overground water pipes have forced residents to travel huge distance to fetch drinking water.

 In north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, locals said their womenfolk have to walk long distances to fetch water.

 “Right now only tube wells are working. Cattle herders at upper reaches have no option but to trek through treacherous terrain to fetch water. Even some are melting snow for drinking and washing,” said Abdul Gaffar a resident of Pattan.

 Chief Engineer Jal Shakti department Iftikhar Ahmad Wani said all the supply lines across the valley are functional.

 He, however, said the blockade could be due to the dipping mercury. “We have our all lines functional across the valley. However, it could be due to the extreme cold weather that some pipe may have frozen,” Wani said.

He said the pipelines will get restored as the temperature improves in the day. “Our employees are on job and at present, there is no scarcity of water from sources. Our employees visit those areas where people need their assistance,” Wani said.