Azad Hussain

Early snowfall – boon or bane

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Nature,  having no substitute,  is always under the control of Almighty.  So having not our control  for  it’s early occurrence,  snowfall, a natural phenomenon, can occur any time by the will of God, as it happened this year before more than a month’s  time from the beginning of  winter. And it caused huge damage to apple industry pushing those in the trade to the wall.

This year as  a coincidence, the snowfall happened here  simultaneously with the  move of  civil  Secretariat  from Srinagar to  Jammu. As bureaucrats, politicians and other people belonging to well off families make their arrangements  for living  winter  months in the warm part of the state. And behind are left those who can’t afford to live  seasonal migratory life.

Though normally the people over here in Kashmir wait eagerly  for first snow fall to welcome it with a pleasant note and social media immediately  gets full of photos, videos, and posts  while   the people greet each other with good wishes for every first snowfall. But this year it was different. It came sudden and unexpected and did a blow to apple industry.

The snowfall neither allowed the authorities nor the common people to get ready to face it, as no red alert, or advisory from higher ups was issued so that people would have readied themselves to take some precautionary measures to save apple-laden trees.

Though there have been cases of early snow falls at higher reaches like Gulmarag and Sonamarg etc, in the beginning of November almost every year, but the plain areas of Kashmir get first snowfall in ending December. This time, it was a different story.

Being  the inseparable part of every winter , the snow is not only the decorative part of Kashmir but has a very crucial rule to facilitate the feeding sources  for many irrigation canals besides getting percolated into the ground and gets stored as  an underground water body which has also it’s great importance.

So the snow has a great significance and importance both from  touristic point of view and agricultural point of view. However it’s timely occurrence is very beneficial for either of the said sectors in Kashmir.

Winter tourism is entirely dependent on snow fall, and if it occurs late the winter tourism as well as the winter sports do get affected badly. However this year on one hand  the early snowfall can prove good for the winter tourism but on the other hand,  most of the  other sectors which people mostly belong to can get  badly stuck. People need not less than a snow free month yet to conclude their fruit business and other arrangements for winter.

Usually what happens is that  first snow fall occurs most probably toward the ending  of December. So in the month of November and December people start making arrangements for winter like warm clothes, Kangries, charcoal  for Kangries, sun-dried vegetables etc. mostly cooked in the village  areas of valley in winter.

Moreover, the apple business, the most of the people in Kashmir belong to is completely  under process. Hardly a few small growers have concluded the harvesting.  Usually the growers  conclude harvesting process  towards the end of  November, and are still busy to pack their crops  to dispatch them off   to various big  fruit markets in India. The recent snowfall has badly hampered plucking and transportation of apple besides thousands of apple trees have fell under the weight of snow and crop.

The early snowfall will also have an adverse impact on the schooling process. The examinations are on as most of the  elementary class students  are yet to appear in exams due to deferment in the schedule. Perhaps due to  this long delay and very cold weather the children would  not feel good in the examination centres too.

Right that you can’t do away with occurrences of natural phenomena, but to remain prepared to face the challenges has to be done by you. So authorities later than never need to facilitate the people with all  possible arrangements like road clearance, power and water supply, heating arrangements for students in examination halls and also issue timely advisories to people so that they remain cautious to minimize damages done by weather vagaries.

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