Teach them no to lie!
Every year with the onset of autumn in Kashmir, people of the valley are told that the administered all geared up to face the upcoming winter. At the end of each meeting, which are held almost on daily basis to review what is, in the official parlance, known as ‘winter preparedness’, people are told that everything has been taken care of and that in the coming days they will face no problem whatsoever on account of the weather vagaries. But once it snows, the hollowness of the official assertions and claims is there for everybody to see. It may seem very harsh, but the hindsight has it that the Kashmir administration is a fair-weather administration. Here things work only as long was the weather is friendly; a small drizzle and a few inches of snow always come as a calamity of colossal magnitude, with similar impacts. This winter too things were no different. In fact this winter was far harsher, not in terms of the weather but its impact on the situation too was far greater than what was felt in the previous years.
See the irony, Kashmir is not the only place on the face of globe where it snows during winters. But it will certainly be the only place where winters come to haunt and harass the population in so many different ways. Reason is: the authorities here have not been able to put in place facilities which would withstand harshness of weather. For instance, a cursory look at the power scenario in Kashmir or for that matter at the condition of roads and streets throughout the length and breadth of the Valley drives home the unfortunate reality about abject neglect, and absolute lack of concern for public welfare.
Take roads and streets. For the past several years officials have been claiming that the road contractors are made to sign maintenance clause – that they will have to take care of the necessary repairs in case the road surface is damaged. But each time it rains or snows here, the roads and streets, even the freshly laid ones, give way to huge ditches and potholes as is the situation now after the snowfall in the first week of January. For the past month and half, the amount and extent of damages in the roads are only multiplying with each passing day and nobody is visible anywhere doing any repairs or related work. And by the time, authorities will wake up to the need, it would be already too late and entire road stretches will have to be laid afresh. Needless to say that besides being a big cause of popular heart-ache, this neglectful attitude of the concerned agencies is actually being an unnecessary and avoidable drain on the government exchequer.
Same is case with the power sector. For the past several years people of Kashmir have been told that they will be getting electricity supply 24X7 without any load-shedding whatsoever. Despite repeated pledges by successive governments and central administrations on this count, the power scenario continues to remain precarious as ever. Even today people of Kashmir have to face long, disconcerting power cuts without fail. For every three hours of supply, they have to go without power for one-and-half hour duration. Then there are additional and unscheduled power cuts owing to other reasons like system overload et. al. which continue to haunt and harass the general public here without any fail.
Interestingly, at a time when people expected the authorities to inform them about some good news, PDD bosses have the same old and worn-out excuses to share – that against an expected unrestricted peak demand of 2000-2400 MW, the department is supplying peak load of 1250-1300 MW. And this information too is shared in such a manner as if the general public is expected to be grateful to PDD for this “magnanimity”. How unfortunate!
By the way if the Power department is not able to meet the requirements of domestic consumers, what makes the government here to believe that it may be able to fulfill the energy requirements of the industry, which it is so desperately trying to bring in and set up here?