Winter Preparedness

Kashmir Magazine

The winter is almost here as hilly regions of Kashmir valley have witnessed snowfall recently. While for outsiders the snowfall here is satiating aesthetic senses, but for the locals it adds to its miseries and troubles. Kashmir has all along witnessed the governments, that be, failing in keeping the electricity distribution system and the essential amenities delivery mechanism intact. In yesteryears snowfall several rural areas remained cut off for weeks without resumption of surface communication or electric power.
During winters, the power supply becomes the first casualty. Despite claiming enough but there seems no improvement in 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 Jal Shakti Department needs electricity to run its filtration plants. In the subsequent year early snowfall left Kashmiri’s with horrifying memories of complete collapse of system. Devastation of horticulture and saffron produce was the examples. The snowfall didn’t only damage the standing apple crop, it broke the fruit trees thus inflicting longtime losses to those dealing in the fruit trade. 35% of the orchards were reportedly affected according to the preliminary estimates of Horticulture Kashmir while as 70% of Kashmir’s saffron produce was affected due to the snowfall. In the backdrop of this horrifying experience, the people here are expecting the incumbent administration led by Lieutenant Governor to be more effective and ‘battle-ready’ for the coming winter which has already started knocking at the door.
Though the incumbent administration has started making claims about winter preparedness, it is to be seen whether these claims hold when nature decides to whiten the vale and dale of Kashmir. In the light of official communications issued from time to time regarding winter preparedness, it seems government’s priorities are quite clear this time and it has a proper plan in place. One would expect that the present Lieutenant Governor’s administration would have learnt some lessons from the previous years. If it has learnt, one would expect it to be prepared enough to tackle the coming winter effectively.