Snow is the only charm that makes one to crave for winter. For its aesthetic and visual attraction it drives people out on streets to receive the swirling snowflakes. Visitors from no-snow zones rush in to enjoy the snowfall. But for a common Kashmir snowfall is the most agonizing moment. All his problems begin with snowfall in winter. Right from power, road connectivity and drinking water to all other daily amenities like essential commodities disappear with the shoveling of the first snowflake. The scene gets repeated ever year. Normal life in Kashmir went out of gear completely on Saturday within an hour snowflakes started swirling over our heads.
By the evening, the snow accumulated to five inches and everything seemed have been buried under the snow. The first casualty became the electricity. Entire valley plunged into darkness as power supply was withdrawn by the concerned department. The power supply remains shut to almost all parts of the valley including capital Srinagar, and there is no sign of the electricity even after 19 hours of the power breakdown. The concerned authorities from the divisional and PDD administration have maintained discreet silence. There is no word from them about the restoration of the power supply. The only explanation they have is that the “inter-transmission system has been badly hit due to snapping of lines”. The transmission lines connected to most of the grid stations are reported to have developed faults.
The power department by its own admission says that just 80-MW energy of the total 1250-MW is available for supply. That underscores the grim situation of power supply in the valley. Till late in the afternoon on Sunday, there was no visible effort from the concerned authorities regarding the supply of electricity. It is a fact that the power supply got snagged due to a situation the power department has no control. But 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 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.