The farce of snow clearance!

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BY: Showkat Ahmad

Call it official apathy or lack of proper planning, several villages in the valley of Kashmir continue to remain cut off days after the fresh snowfall that lashed heavily in the upper reaches here and gave he city its dose as well. Let’s make it clear that we have a proficiently functioning meteorological department and that nobody was caught unawares when the valley witnesses yet another week of heavy snowfall. Before our electricity supply fell flat, particularly in villages, we had already received a precise forecast indicating to us what was coming. However, it is a strange thing with Kashmir that while people here celebrate snowfalls, for several reasons including agricultural as well as tourism, the departments concerned with the aftermath of snow i.e snow clearance, regulating electricity supply etc somehow miss the train every single time! It is stranger that while we prepare ourselves for the snowfall and the freezing cold, our departments fail us exactly at the time when we need them the most.

The engineers at Mechanical Engineering Department (MeD) remain busy devising route maps for snow clearance operations in order to ensure smooth pedestrian and vehicular movement but on the ground, the plans freeze- like the freezing water pipelines, and fall flat- like the electricity supply lines. We are blessed but in a strangely awkward way- the nature has bestowed us with a great climatic and seasonal variety but people here seem bereft of the tendency to retain the gifts!

Take for instance my home village- Braripora- located in Tehsil Khansahib in District Budgam- we still haven’t been able to ignite the engines of our cars as the roads haven’t been cleared of snow!

What is more astonishing is the fact that the concerned deptt. on Saturday sent two tractors for snow clearance which rather than clearing the roads mashed the snow making huge heaps and piles at certain places and digging holes at others- an ideal conditions for how not to allow any vehicular movement.

While making requests to the concerned contractor and supervisor, I was assured that they will come back at 3 pm to continue their ‘ well thought over’ clearance drive, suggesting that their strategy also needed some  bright sunshine to soften the frozen layer of snow so that the machines could actually be of some help- how strange!

With only a few options at hand- in this case just one- I waited and waited for the contractor to show up but it didn’t happen. The contractor and supervior had simply managed to cheat people and give us a slip. I am sure that they will have their ways to withdraw the bills at ease with no one to ask or inspect if the work assigned to them was really done or not- a classic example of wastage of public money that is sent straight down the drain- in this case, you can say a snow filled drain!

Both the contractor as well as supervisor were trying to make a point that non availability of a JCB was hampering  their work. If the contractor cant arrange a JCB, why is he assigned a work that can only be done by using a JCB. Isnt this cheating with common people?

Watching this flop show prompted me to make a few calls and the first one- to SDM Khansahib- was met with a routine treatment- no answers!! I than called the concerned JE who was quick to throw the ball into the supervisors court. Also our district administration didn’t bother to pick the phone as they too are seemingly busy on twitter in this moment of great distress! One wonders as to why do they announce emergency numbers when they are in no urgency to attend calls? Isn’t this done only for publicity?

My question to Governor Administration is that why cheat people and throw them at the hands of these non-functioning bureaucrats and so on! Why not put reasonable people at such important positions, so that they can provide some relief to common  masses? What is the glitch?

I must add that there are many more villages like the one in discussion and my sincere request is that those at the helm of affairs must take action against such supervisors and contractors so that they don’t take people for a ride.

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