WINTER in Kashmir is mainly associated with the closure of schools, late timings for public office, frequent electricity cuts, freezing of water pipelines and closure or blockage of main roads. This mere change in a season brings life almost to the halt in Kashmir and it has become now normal.
While it is true that winter in Kashmir is harsh, but it is also true that infrastructure in Kashmir has been left untouched to suit the winter conditions. Every time snow falls, electricity goes off for days because the power transmission lines fall everywhere. Roads get closed for days before the government scrambles its mechanical department to clear the roads. Waterlogging is also now an emerging concern in urban areas. This is not normal that people take it as. It is just a failure to adapt the infrastructure to the local conditions. It is beyond the understanding of a common person that if these incidents occur every year during winter, why the government has not taken concrete steps to make all these things winter-proof. Why should common people suffer every year just because of change in a season?
The Darbar move itself resembles that government escapes and becomes blind to all these problems that Kashmir faces during the winter. The government should take concrete steps to make infrastructure in Kashmir winter-proof so that no one has to suffer. Winter itself is not the problem. The failure of the government to adapt to the conditions of the winter is the actual problem.
While the local population has itself developed ways to keep themselves going in the freezing cold, the government has done nothing to keep itself going during winter. It is high time that the government upgrades the electricity transmission system, water distribution system and install the heating system in its offices and schools so that normal life can go on in winter. Winter and Chilai Kalan should be just like any other change in seasons and there should be no romanticizing of this change. People should confront the bitter truths of failure that winter brings with it.
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