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The Snow-fall-out

The latest snowfall has added a new charm to the winter in Kashmir. The entire valley and its surrounding mountain peaks give a striking charm with white snow capping and covering them all. As the snowfall began on Friday afternoon, social media went agog with photographs and videos of snow accumulating on streets, house lawns, trees and house tops. Videos capturing citizens celebrating the snow fall with awesome charm gave a new meaning and sense to the winter. The whisper of swirling and falling snowflakes evoked a sense of extra delight, marking the arrival of a new feeling to hold onto, this charm captures the imagination and beauty of winter. The snowfall gave a respite to the valley people in some other way as well. The valley had been reeling under harsh cold coupled with dry causing serious problems like scarcity of water as water bodies and taps had got frozen under sub zero temperature. The snowfall has lessened these problems to some extent but gave rise to new ones which are even more serious in nature and consequences. The first casualty of the snowfall became the power supply. With a week power transmission system, the entire valley turned dark with all the transmission lines broken under the weight of the snow. The snapping of road connectivity was next to happen. Within hours of the snowfall people of the valley were restricted to their homes under the duress of the snow fallout. Though the roads in capital Srinagar and other major towns have been cleared and power supply restored in many parts of the urban Kashmir but rural Kashmir continues to live in isolation and darkness. The snowfall by all measures was moderate in the plains and heavy in the upper reaches and its control is not in the hands of the humans. But it is well within the power of the state administration to tackle the problems arising out of the weather wiggeries. Kashmir is snow prone region since its existence. It is not something unexpected or unforeseen has happened. The basic question is why the supply system is so fragile that three or four inch snow dashes it to the ground. Kashmir is not the only place where there is snowfall. But Kashmir is the only place where everything gets buried under snow—the government in the very first place. Snow falls every winter in Kashmir, and the problems get repeated every time there is a snowfall. The government should have taken all this into consideration well before the time, and efforts should have been made to make maximum of the minimum. But here everything goes in reverse direction. It is not only the power supply that has affected the lives of the people. The road connectivity has also got badly affected in the wake of the snowfall. Most of the roads and streets in capital Srinagar are under snow. Nobody from the Municipality or Public Works department is seen anywhere on the streets clearing or monitoring the road clearance. Srinagar Municipal Corporation, which has an army of people to meet such eventualities, appears to be under deep slumber.What has made the situation even worse is the water logging on crucial city centers. The exhibition chowk, Jahangir Chow, Hari Singh High Street, Lal Chowk, Regal Chowk and several other surrounding localities have turned into water pools and lakes due to water logging. The drainage system seems to have failed completely. The state government which has moved to Jammu a few days ago appears to be basking in warm weather of Jammu. The valley has been handed over to a few bureaucrats with divisional commissioner as their head, who have ensconced themselves to their cozy offices. The essential commodities and eatables of daily use too have disappeared from the market. They are being sold in black against whopping prices. There is no control over prices. It is sellers’ whim that fixes the prices. Governor S P Malik, who is currently head of the government, needs to take stock of the worsening situation in the valley, and activate his machinery to mitigate the peoples’ problems.