No end to winter woes in ‘developed’ Kashmir

Power Breakdown, Road Closure, Lax Govt A Constant Headache For Aam Aadmi


Srinagar, Jan 18: If politicians in J&K are to be believed, the ‘beautiful Valley’ of Kashmir has witnessed ‘tremendous growth and development’ over the years—something that people are fed quite off and on. If the ruling National Conference-Congress combine today claims to have carried out the “overall development of all regions of the State,” the former Congress-Peoples Democratic Party coalition would make the similar claims. This ‘huge graph of development notwithstanding’, the ground situation in Kashmir continues to belie such claims as and when it snows in the Valley, if not on other occasions.
On Thursday evening, the summer capital of Srinagar witnessed some less than 2 inchs snow, gradually. But barely a few minutes after its start, people across the length and breadth of the city started complaining of power breakdown—something which has been the case in the ‘developed’ Kashmir for decades now. “Our area received only 1 inch snow by Thursday evening, but there is no electricity so far,” Ghulam Muhammad, a resident of Karan Nagar told Greater Kashmir this afternoon. “It is unfortunate that we have such a pathetic power system that collapses with few inches of snowfall. Is this what the Power Development Department wants us to pay for? Is this what the government raises the power tariff for, every six months?”
This, however, was not the situation with the ‘high-profile’ Gupkar which hasn’t witnessed power-cut for the past 24 hours, according to reports. The area, barely five kilometers from Karan Nagar, houses some of the high-profile politicians, bureaucrats and officers, even as many of them are presently with the ‘Durbar Move’ to Jammu.
According to post-snowfall reports, a number of roads in the summer capital were under snow till 11 AM on Friday despite the government claiming to have “pressed its men and machinery into service quickly” and “geared up for the predicted snowfall a week earlier.” “The interior roads in Hazratbal, where the 12-day Urs is presently going on, are still under snow. Even the main roads have not been cleared properly,” said a devotee, who had visited the famed Hazratbal shrine for Fajr (morning) prayers. The situation with Srinagar roads post-snowfall happens to be same despite “addition of more snow-clearance cavalcade every year.”
With regard to the Srinagar-Jammu highway, the only surface link of Kashmir with rest of the world, the situation has been no different. This time, it, however, worsened ahead of the snowfall after the J&K Government announced half-day suspension of traffic on the 300-km highway for January 17. “For decades together, the governments in J&K have failed to address the people’s woes with regard to basic amenities, not to talk of constructing an alternate highway. That is enough to expose the tall claims of politicians on development of the State,” said Tejender Singh from Himachal Pradesh, a trucker stuck in Srinagar in the wake of highway closure. “I have been driving on the Srinagar-Jammu highway for 30 years now. Every winter we remain stuck up either in Jammu or in Srinagar after it snows along the highway. We were hopeful to see the new Mughal Road addressing the problem, but the Government has failed to throw it open for public.”
The residents in far-flung areas of Kashmir are up in arms against the government for ‘failing to provide them civic amenities.’ “Bandipora witnessed meager snowfall on Thursday evening, but the electricity immediately went off,” a resident told Greater Kashmir over phone. “This district witnessed 60 per cent polling during the 2008 assembly elections but people are denied civic amenities. There is no end to their woes with regard to power, water and roads.” Pertinently, during the general elections in 2008, politicians had sought votes on the ‘Bijli, Sadak, Pani’ plank. People from other districts of Kashmir had similar tales to narrate.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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