Pathetic power scenario
With the beginning of snowfall, the power supply in Kashmir Valley has already come down drastically. This is nothing new. This has been happening in the past and this is happening this time round too. The administrations, that be, have failed Kashmiris during winters and the present dispensation is yet to prove that it is going to be different. A few days back, the Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation officials made tall claims making people believe that this winter it would have ‘the lowest power curtailment schedule in a decade’. They promised that the metered areas would have curtailment of only two to three-hour while as in non-metered areas it would be three to four-hour cut. People were excited. They were debating all over about the issue and praising the Lt Governor administration. However, the excitement proved to be having very minimum shelf-life. The situation, on the ground, negated everything that the PDC officials were claiming. Most of the areas, metered as well as non-metered, are facing power curtailment of 8 to 10 hours in 24 hours. PDC claims have become a butt of joke.
During winters, the power supply becomes the first casualty. The administrations, that be, have miserably failed to improve the network of transmission lines. A little bit of snow and electric poles break down. During November 2019 snowfall, nearly 5000 electric poles broke down in the Valley thus disrupting the electric supply and forcing people to grope in darkness amid freezing mercury. Power shortage results in the termination of water supply to various regions as the PHE department needs electricity to run its filtration plants. The government’s failure to clear snow from the roads impacts the movement of essential thus resulting into hoarding of essentials and sky-rocketing of prices. That is what people suffered in 2019 November. In the backdrop of this horrifying experience of last year, the people here are expecting the incumbent administration to be more effective and ‘battle-ready’ for the coming winter which has already started knocking at the door.
While Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha’s administration has started making claims about winter preparedness, it is to be seen whether these claims hold. One would expect that the present Lt Governor’s administration would have learnt some lessons from the failures of previous regimes in tackling with winters. If it has learnt, one would expect it to be prepared enough to tackle the coming winter effectively. This is the first winter for Lt Governor Sinha. People are watching keenly how his administration deals with the weather vagaries. Following abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, New Delhi had promised moon and stars to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. However, last year’s winter negated these claims as people were made to grope in darkness in absence of electric power. Let the present dispensation do something different and convey to the masses that ‘yes, it cares.’