A week without electricity

PDD pushes Shaher-e-Khaas locality into stone-age

MUSHTAQ AHMAD

Srinagar, Jan 24: The cold is literally biting the residents of Shaher-e-Khaas’s middle-class locality of Zahid Pora Hawal for the past seven days.
 Like stone-age era, to which the city residents have been catapulted by the Power Development Department (PDD), people cover distances to nearby neighbourhood with electricity in the morning either to take a warm-water bath in this chilling period or fetch water for family members.
  “On January 18, immediately after a few inches of snowfall, the residents spotted fumes emerging from the local transformer. We brought it into the notice of the PDD, which took the transformer away. Since then there is no news as to what happened to it, leaving us in lurch in this unbearable cold,” said Irfan Ahmad, a resident of Zahid Pora.
 Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who also holds the portfolio of power ministry, may have announced an inquiry into power failure in 132 KV electricity line to Rajouri and Poonch, but 75 families of Zahid Pora depending on the transformer and around half a dozen other old city localities continue to reel under power breakdowns for days together.
 Though the National Conference draws eight MLAs from the city still there seems no political will to seek report into the failure to feed hundreds of city dwellers with the life line, which is electricity.
 “Unlike old times when people would only cook and heat up rooms with electricity, these days life literally runs on electricity. I would speak to my son in the US on Skype but our laptops are dead,” said Rukhsana, a schoolteacher, adding “the electricity has snapped our connection with relatives living outside.”
 Locals claim that people are charging their much-needed electronic gadgets like mobile phones and laptops at their offices, shops and even nearby mosques to keep communication lines functional.
 “Yesterday, we charged mobile phones on car battery so that we get to know what happened to our hospitalized relative,” said a resident.
 The colony dwellers have resorted to old ways of living, where the family members huddle in a room and sleep there to keep it warm with the breath generated together.
 “Studies of students, news on television and Internet connection, all have gone for a toss for week. It is excruciating experience, unheard of in these modern times,” said Afza, a student. 
 The most affected are the elderly citizens. “I am used to electric blanket. I have developed chest congestion and pains in bones because of cold conditions at home during the night,” said an elderly resident.
 Srinagar witnessed coldest night yesterday when temperature dipped to around minus 4 degree Celsius.
 The residents are now moving from one PDD office to another to have the transformer back, even senior bureaucracy being contacted to put extra pressure.
 “We are told that the transformer has been shifted to the Pampore workshop and is in a queue. How long will we wait? If this is what happens in the city, think of rural pockets,” said Mushtaq, a local.
 Officials at the Pampore workshop of the PDD said there are dozens of damaged transformers from the old city and the colonies will have to wait for their turn.
 Unfortunately, there is no back up with the PDD in case the city witnessed multiple transformer breakdowns. 
  A senior PDD official quoted the chief minister to justify the delay in services. "There are many other countries in the world which face power breakdowns due to snowfall. It's inevitable," said the official.
 But a week without electricity when the snow melted in 24 hours. The Zahid Pora case once again raise concern about performance of essential services department like the PDD.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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