Power Shortage In Ramazan Fuels Anger In Kashmir

KO Photo By Abid Bhat

Residents Hit Streets, Block Roads To Protest Massive Outage

Srinagar- Strong resentment is brewing against the administration in Jammu and Kashmir, especially the power development department (PDD) over what the residents term an unprecedented electricity crisis in the holy month of Ramazan.

Here in Srinagar, a group of women on Monday morning hit the streets in Basant Bagh locality and staged a protest against the PDD’s failure in providing proper electricity supply in the holy month of Ramazan, especially during Sehri and Iftar times.

Chanting slogans against the PDD, the protesters blocked the road and restricted the movement of traffic.

The protestors said they pay electricity bills but in return they have to light candles during the holy month of Ramazan.

“I got an electricity bill of Rs 6000 last month. I pleaded before a PDD official for some rebate but he straightaway refused to do so. Later, I sold my daughter’s earrings to pay the electricity fees, Shakeela, an angry protester, told Kashmir Observer.

She said what makes things ugly is that the people are being left at God’s mercy during crucial times of Sehri and Iftar.

The massive power cuts are coming at a time when the administration has started a drive to install smart meters across this capital city, promising uninterrupted power supply.

The power situation is no different in other parts of the Valley, even as the outage has started forcing people out on the roads

In north Kashmir’s Baramulla town, the traders’ federation held a strong protest against the PDD over the ‘unprecedented’ power shortage. Holding candles in their hands, the protesters denounced what they called “hoax” claims by the government.

“We were promised skies after the abrogation of Article 370 but we are suffering for basic amenities,” a protester said.

“One of my friends returned from New Delhi yesterday and told me there is 24 hour electricity there” he said.

The protesters further alleged that the notion is being created that the electricity crisis is nationwide, but it is totally “false and fabricated”. The protestors threatened not to pay their bills, if electricity is not restored at the earliest.

“We have never seen such a power crisis in Kashmir before,” Abdul Aziz, one of the protesters, said, adding that the prolonged power cuts, mostly during Sehri and Iftar time, have infuriated people.

Pertinently, on Saturday last, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole acknowledged the unprecedented shortage of power supply and directed the PDD to divert commercial and industrial power for domestic use during the peak hours

Besides, he also appealed to the general public not to use crude electric gadgets to save power during these “unprecedented times”, Pole said, as per an official spokesperson.  (with KNO inputs)

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Syed Mohammad Burhan

Syed Mohammad Burhan has Masters in Mass Communications and works as City Reporter at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @syedmohammad313

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