Four days on from the Thursday’s heavy snowfall, the Union Territory government is still struggling with the task of putting the life in Valley back on rails. Power and water supply continue to remain disrupted in parts of the Valley and snow clearance operations continue to be lax. This is really a sad comment on the state of affairs in the UT. More so, when Thursday’s snowfall was its first test. In fact, response to a snowstorm is always a major test of the responsiveness of the administration. Considering the fact, the winter in Kashmir is harshly cold, the governments here are supposed to be not only prepared for sudden weather challenges but also once faced with the challenge address it in the shortest possible time. Also, being a place with long, extended winters, the administration in Kashmir is expected to have a pool of knowledge, experience and the expertise to deal with the situation. But seeing the tardy response to the current snowfall one can very well ask what have our departments charged to deal with winter emergencies learnt over the years. Where is the pool of knowledge to deal with the situation and get the life up and moving again?
What the current snowfall has once again highlighted to everybody’s dismay is how more things change in Kashmir, more they remain the same. And how it is a safe prediction for everybody that the future will be no different. What makes the situation more difficult is the apathy of the UT government to the chaos that followed the snowfall. The exceptionally severe nature of the recent weather phenomenon hardly made the state government more sensitive towards the needs of the people. In fact, this winter the government appeared more distant than ever. The people were more or less left to fend for themselves.
Also, such monumental government failures whereby a snowfall leaves us hopelessly stranded doesn’t even become a public issue. But it is only to be expected in Kashmir. Be it democracy or a gubernatorial administration, the governance goes missing at crucial junctures. People are important, no doubt, but our democracy easily affords to skirt them. This is why we still are waiting for our governments to pleasantly surprise us by at least raising the level of their responsiveness to the situations that cause most distress to the people. In the event of a snowfall, power and water supply are the first to be disrupted and snow clearance operations are lax. Here is hoping against hope that the new administration pleasantly surprises us with a more efficient handling of a future bad turn in weather.