Admin gears up to meet winter challenges

As the Meteorological Department has predicted a three-day wet spell from Friday evening, the divisional administration is gearing up with its winter preparedness.

Speaking with Greater Kashmir, Divisional Commissioner Pandurang K Pole said the main focus of the administration is to ensure “smooth delivery of all essential services” this winter. Pole said three agencies— Border Roads Organisation, National Highways Authority of India and Public Works Department— would be ensuring smooth vehicular movement during inclement weather.

“The responsibility of the BRO is to ensure clearance of both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel while the NHAI is responsible for maintenance of the rest of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The BRO has its men and machinery ready for snow clearance near the tunnel area,” Pole said.

The Div Com said that apart from snow clearing, clearance of debris in the Ramban stretch of the national highway would be a continuing challenge. “We cannot rule out that there would be no landslides, etc. but effort would be that the highway remains closed for a minimum number of days,” Pole said.

The Div Com said 16,000 kilometres road stretch across the rest of  Valley is being managed by Public Works Department and Mechanical Engineering Department (MED) during winter months.

“Both these departments have a responsibility of 8000 km of roads this winter. MED has 200 machines at disposal. PWD has already undertaken tendering for snow clearance and finalised the contractors,” Pole said.

The Div Com said as far as supply of potable water is concerned, “sufficient quantity of material has been stocked in higher reaches to tackle any pipe bursts”.

“There are many water supply lines that originate from higher reaches where we have additional stocks of material available. In case of pipe bursts we have kept material ready,” Pole said, adding that for lift-water supply schemes, the administration has kept “vehicle mounted DG sets available”.

Pole admitted that there is not enough supply of electricity available to meet the winter demand but added that supply was expected to be enhanced by 100-150 MWs by January.

“We have already increased 100-150 MWs of power supply and expect a further boost of 100-150 MWs. The scheduled cuts will continue but this year transformer replacement time has been reduced to a great extent,” Pole said.

He said it was being ensured that faulty transformers in urban areas are repaired within 2 days while as in rural areas it doesn’t take more than 78 hours.  “A buffer stock of 700 transformers has been kept ready which will be increased in coming days.” Pole said.

Commenting on availability of ration supplies, the Div Com said: “In forward areas such as Karnah, Gurez and Keran we have ration supplies of 4-5 months already dumped. Other districts where there are 700 villages in upper reaches are also being catered to with ration supplies,” Pole said.

“The winter stocking for these 700 villages which are mostly in higher reaches has also been completed. There are enough stocks of kerosene and LPG while oil marketing companies have been asked to ramp-up petrol and diesel supplies,” Pole said.