Are we ready?
As the Weatherman has again predicted snow and rainfall from November 12 to 15, the people of the Valley are again on the edge wondering whether it would be a repeat of what happened after November 03 snowfall. Agreed that the snowfall was untimely but it was not unpredicted as the MeT office had, like it did yesterday, already issued the advisory about the snowfall. However, as commented in an earlier editorial, either the state administration didn’t take the advisory seriously or simply there was some serious lack of communication. And the results were for everybody to see. The entire valley had to grope into darkness for several days because of the massive power supply failure; the surface communication was snapped within valley and most of the areas faced acute drinking water shortage. It may be mentioned here that several areas of the valley are yet to get the power supply restored. In this backdrop, the fresh advisory has again pushed the panic button among valley populace. People are wondering that whether the administration has learnt any lessons or what happened on Nov 03 is going to repeat again.
The state administration has to gear up to face the challenges that the fresh rains and snow may bring to fore. The major responsibility lies on Power Development Department because it is power failures that create most of troubles for the populace as in most parts, the supply of water depends on supply of power. The PDP department is left with just two days to gear up to face the challenge. In several areas, as the PDP authorities insisted, the transmission lines collapsed because the nearby trees and tree branches fell on these lines. So pruning of the trees along transmission lines should be the top most priority of the PDD to ensure that in the wake of fresh snowfall, there are no potential branches that can break down and thus collapse transmission lines. The traffic authorities and those assigned the job of snow clearance too have to pull their socks well ahead of November 12 so that the mess on the roads, that was witnessed on November 03 is not repeated.
Meanwhile, there are some encouraging reports pouring in. A local newspaper has reported that the government has decided to declare last week’s snowfall as ‘calamity’ to provide enhanced compensation to affected fruit growers. If government does so, it may be a right step in the right direction. Horticulture is the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy and it goes without saying that last week’s snowfall has given a terrible jolt to this industry. The fruit growers, all over the valley, suffered huge losses to their apple as the several varieties of the fruit were still unpicked. Besides, the growers suffered huge losses as the orchards suffered hugely and thousands and thousands of apple trees, all over, broke down under the weight of the snow. Though the southern parts of Kashmir have suffered much losses, several areas of northern Kashmir particularly Rafiabad, Tangmarg, Kreeri etc too have suffered huge losses. It would be a wise and horticulture-friendly gesture if the government declares it calamity and decides to help the apple growers in a big way. The important thing that is to be noted is that what the growers suffered is not just one time loss, in fact the broken orchards would impact their productivity for several years to come.