Essential services break down as admin caught unprepared


The season’s first snowfall in Kashmir, coupled with incessant rains since Thursday, caught the administration unawares and exposed its traditional lack of preparedness for emergencies. Almost all essential services, power especially, were badly hit.  The summer capital Srinagar was plunged into darkness after a huge tree fell on a 33 KV transmission line near SKICC. Power supply in majority of city’s areas was not restored till late in the evening. 
Most people lamented that there was no prior warning from the administration for "such widespread and heavy snowfall". 
Secondary school students who were writing their English subject exams today said they had a tough time fighting cold in unheated and dark examination halls on the one hand and writing their papers on the other.
Melting snow caused water logging in several low-lying areas of the city and Srinagar Municipal Corporation was sluggish in dewatering these areas. People from various parts also complained of ineffective snow clearance saying snow clearing machines were missing from vital roads especially those leading to offices and schools. 
Slippery roads slowed down vehicles, leading to traffic jams. In the morning, several traffic jams were witnessed in various parts of Srinagar and areas leading to the city from various district across the Valley. Movement of traffic in the summer capital was slow at Ram Bagh, Tengpora Bypass, Bagh-e-Mehtab, Abdullah Bridge, Sonwar Ram MunshiBagh, TRC Crossing and other busy intersections.
Sajad Ahmad, a Sanat Nagar resident, said while early snow in the season is a good sign and has brought an end to the long dry spell, lack of arrangements by the administration has created problems.
“We can’t keep any hopes from the administration. Even so called posh localities have not been cleared of snow, let alone far flung areas. There is no help for those in distress,” he said. 
Business also slowed down in markets. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry said “administrative breakdown” in Kashmir Valley immediately after the shifting of the government to Jammu was worrying.  “Unscheduled power cuts, traffic-choked roads, exorbitant air fare and callous highway management have not only impacted commercial operations but have put the general public to terrible inconvenience. People are being held hostage in their vehicles for hours altogether due to poor traffic management and lack of proper infrastructure.  Despite several requests, the available manpower for traffic management is not being augmented even in the capital city not to talk about other district headquarters and towns like Anantnag, Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara, Shopian,” said KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq. 
"Power curtailment schedule announced by the government is not being adhered to,” Ashiq said. 
“The most important bridge commonly referred to as the skewed bridge for releasing of traffic pressure on the Central Business District has been converted into a foot bridge for unknown reasons despite huge public outcry. Immediate administrative decisions are required to mitigate the sufferings of the population as such pitiable conditions could, without fear, be termed as a violation of basic human rights of the population. A few inches of snow seems to have exposed the problem areas and should be taken as a wake-up call for the harsh winter ahead,” Ashiq said.  Muhammad Yasin Khan, president Kashmir Economic Alliance, said unscheduled power power cuts are taking a toll on the business community, which was looking forward to a good business season ahead. 
Several shoppers at LalChowk and various other markets of the city also complained that water-logging and power cuts prevented them for making purchases of essentials.
Khan said shops pulling down shutters at 6pm are resulting in 20-30 percent losses in sales and the Valley witnesses losses of Rs 25 crore per day due to unscheduled power cuts. 
When contacted, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan said power supply in most of the districts was being restored.
“Efforts are on to clear snow and dewater water-logged areas,” 

Join our newsetter

Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new updates.