As Govt fails to clear roads, Shopian residents volunteer

Dressed up in woollens and rubber shoes,  the residents in the snow-draped Pargochi village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district have volunteered to clear the snow-clogged roads of their village.

After waiting for the administration for a good five days, dozens of residents volunteered to open the streets in the area.

The residents were able to clear at least one km-long stretch throughout the day.

“As the administration has failed to clear the roads, we finally started shovelling the snow off the village roads and walkways on our own,” said Aqib Ahmad, a local resident.

Most of the roads in Shopian district continued to remain buried under thigh-deep snow even after 48 hours of stopping of snowfall.

Fayaz Ahmad, Assistant Executive Engineer (Mechanical Division) told the Greater Kashmir that around 60 percent of priority roads were made motorable, while the snow from the link roads was being cleared.

Despite biting cold, many residents in around a dozen villages including Langandoor, Pehlipora, Dopora, Ayand Rawalpor and Chotipora came out of their homes and began clearing the roads.

“We are heavily suffering due to the blocked roads. People are dying as they could not get medical attention on time.  We can hardly afford to wait for administration anymore,” said a resident of Langandoora.

Many young men who were engaged in the snow clearing process since early morning said that they had apprehensions that the contractors and some officials might charge the government for clearing such roads.

“The government should not pay the contractors or the officials who were supposed to clear these roads,” said another resident.

An official said that two snow cutters had been pressed into service to remove snow from the roads.

Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Mechanical Engineering Division, Abdul Rashid Dar along with Deputy  Commissioner Shopian, Choudary Mohammad Yasin, visited some villages to take stock of the snow clearing process.

In neighbouring Kulgam and Anantnag districts, people also complained of disruption in utility services and road connectivity.

“The intra-district roads are yet to be cleared fully. A single vehicle can pass through them,” said Mohammad Haseeb, a resident of Anantnag town.

Many residents in far-off villages of Kulgam district said that they had been facing a shortage of piped water for the past many days.