Electric rice cookers make way for time-tested 'Buntun' and 'Laejvaer' as unscheduled power cuts become frequent in Kashmir

A woman cooking rice in Buntun (aluminium vessel) in Srinagar. Photo: Mubashir Khan/ GK

‘Buntun’ and ‘Laejvaer’ are making their way back into Kashmiri kitchens due to unscheduled power cuts which have made it difficult to cook rice in electric cookers.

“We have not eaten cooked rice for the last one month because of the unscheduled power cuts,” said Yasmeena Bano, a resident of Basant Bagh in Downtown Srinagar. “Earlier, we used to cook in an electric rice cooker but now we are using the Buntun (aluminium vessel) to cook rice.”

Kashmir has a tradition of using different types of utensils for cooking rice among them are Bun tun and Leijver (aluminium pot) utensils. But for the last many years, people in the valley have been following modern techniques of cooking the rice and have been using the electric rice cookers instead. The practice is also adopted in the far off areas of the valley.

However, come winter and the power crisis becomes very severe in Kashmir. “If the power department can’t stop the frequent curtailments then at least they must frame a proper schedule, so that we can also plan our household chores accordingly,” said Bano.

Suhaib Qayoom (24), a resident of Shah Anwar Colony, Hyderpora in uptown Srinagar said a Kashmiri can’t compromise on rice – a staple food here. “As the electricity has been playing hide and seek in Kashmir, my family has opted for the old style of cooking which is a traditional one as well. They are now using the old utensils to cook the rice,” said Qayoom. “The rice is cooked well in the traditional utensils and is tasty too,” he said.

The unscheduled power cuts have irked the residents who said that it is also damaging their household products like water pumps and refrigerators. “I have repaired my water pump twice this month and broke down because of frequent and unscheduled power cuts,” said Dawar Rafiq, a resident of Maisuma area of Srinagar.

However, the authorities blame overloading for unscheduled power cuts in Kashmir.

When contacted, Chief Engineer, Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) Aijaz Ahmed Dar told Greater Kashmir that unscheduled power cuts took place due to the overloading. “We have decided to increase curtailment and come up with a new schedule,” he said.