That Time Of The year

AT a time when Kashmir Valley is experiencing extreme cold, the unscheduled electricity cuts have plunged many parts of the union territory into darkness, increasing the misery of people. Over the last week, the temperature in the Valley has drastically dived. Srinagar is recording a minimum night night temperature of minus 6 degrees Celsius which is 5.2 degrees Celsius below the average for this time of the year. At Pahalgam, the mercury plummeted to 2.1°C.  The famous skiing resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 3.6°C.

The problem with the winters in Jammu and Kashmir is that the power supply generally goes down, due to the reduced discharge in the rivers.  As has always been the case, the freezing cold in winter is reinforced by the severe power shortage which happens to be nobody’s concern, either in the government or in the opposition. This only shows how much this seasonal power crisis has become a naturalized part of our lives. So much so that the people have now grudgingly resigned themselves to the state of affairs and government doesn’t feel unduly worried about the situation either.  And to top it, we also have the drastic power curtailment schedule imposed through a matter-of-fact government order with unscheduled power cuts to boot make the matters worse. What is more, the curtailment schedule is unfair and discriminatory in its implementation across the different regions of the UT.

One hopes that the situation improves going forward.  The real challenge lies ahead.  The severity of the winter will only increase as Chillai Kalan rolls in on December 21.  And the people will expect the government to be prepared for the next snowfall. One also expects that unlike many times in the past,  Power Development Department will be better prepared to deal with the  situation. The utility has usually been the target of public vitriol, both on street and online for its inability to immediately restore electricity after Valley is snowed in.

Compared to past winters, nothing has changed for the better on the ground.  In fact, in some aspects, the situation is only worse off. The power supply has been reduced to a trickle in parts of the Valley, with long unscheduled power cuts the order of the day – albeit, in some urban areas, the situation on the power front has been relatively better.  Both metered as well as unmetered areas have already been slapped with a load-shedding schedule. Now that with each passing day, the Valley is heading deeper into winter, the government can be hoped to prepare for the tough times ahead. Snowfalls could soon become the order of the day.

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