Darkness of winter
This winter Kashmir has been in the grip of a severe cold wave. The night has progressively plummeted to upwards of minus 6 degree Celsius and each new night beats the previous night's record. In popular memory, the bone chilling cold and the recent heavy snowfall has come as a throwback to the storied old winters with their feared Chillai Kalans. It is after many years that one can witness the long icicles hanging off the eaves. But the exceptionally severe nature of the winter has hardly made the state government more sensitive towards the needs of the people. In fact, this winter the government seems more distant than ever. The people have more or less been left to fend for themselves. Never mind the opposition protests in the Assembly seeking government's attention towards the erratic power supply. Other than the statements by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and some senior government functionaries assuring improvement in the supply, nothing has changed for the better on the ground. In fact, the situation has only gotten worse. The power supply has reduced to a trickle, with long unscheduled power cuts the order of the day. Both metered as well as unmetered areas have already been slapped with a drastic load-shedding schedule. While the people were hopelessly waiting for the government to review the schedule, the snowfall on January 6 send the large parts of Valley into complete blackout for two days. The only parallel state of affairs that comes to mind is the mid- nineties when power during a brief period of the winter was supplied for one hour a day. And ironically, this is happening at a time when the state is ruled by PDP-led coalition government, a party that in its first term in the government had ensured a steady supply of electricity through winter. And this memory was a distinct factor in the overwhelming support the party drew in Valley in the Assembly polls which catapulted it to power. However, this winter has all but wiped out this good memory. It is time the party gets its act together, and redeems the governance which if we go by the winter yardstick compares with the poorest in the history of past two decades.