And snow buried all tall claims!!!
The snowfall for three consecutive days has put life in Kashmir Valley out of gear. Though the different wings of the administration have been on toes to face the challenge but the situation on the ground indicates that their efforts have had no visible impact. The inter district surface communication has been restored to some extent but interior roads are yet to be cleared of snow and the situation in rural areas is very bad. Same is true about power and water supply. The entire rural Kashmir is groping in darkness and same is true about some areas in Srinagar city. The water supply has also been impacted in entire Kashmir. Though this is nothing new as people of Kashmir have been witnessing administrative failures here right from 1947 but this time round the concerned had made very tall claims of being ‘fully prepared’ to face the challenge of winters. The administrative order issued on Tuesday regarding rationing of petrol and diesel for vehicles to overcome any shortage of fuel due to closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway amid heavy snowfall speaks for itself. If the administration was really prepared for winters, where are the ‘ample supplies’ that they claimed have been stored for winters? Last year, the administration started talking about winter preparation even by the end of September and till first snowfall, media would carry news about ‘review meetings’ on different levels. However, when the nature decided to cover the Valley with a thick layer of snow, those claims too got buried under it.
Fact of the matter is that the administration lacks both men and machinery and also vision to deal with winter challenges. Take, for instance, Srinagar city – here SMC employees have been tirelessly working to clear the roads and lanes but the lack of wherewithal has been hampering the operations. The bosses are just busy passing orders and clicking pictures of their on some deserted road and uploading the same on Twitter and other social media platforms without equipping the staff with requisite tools to do their job. Be it the government employees who are busy on roads clearing the snow, patching transmission lines to restore power supply or unblocking the pipes to ensure water supply, they are the warriors doing wonderful job but the Generals have no clue to guide and lead them. As for as the disruption of power supply during winters is concerned, the authorities have to chalk out a long-term plan. They need to think seriously about the laying of underground transmission lines and acquire more and more transformers to keep them handy for any contingency. For road clearance, the concerned departments need to have snow clearance machines in abundance and keep them ready for the operation. Unless the administration learns the lessons properly and devises its future policies keeping in view the failures of the past, every winter would continue to remain traumatic for the people of Kashmir. The snowfall, particularly the one during Chillai Kalan, is the life line of Kashmir as it helps make glaciers that are the source of water during summers. In this backdrop, Kashmiris should have been celebrating the snowfall but they are not and that is because the troubles that the snowfall brings with it are not addressed efficiently and effectively by the administration.