Kashmir witnessed a titanic calamity in the form of snowfall during the first week of January which unfortunately is the coldest and most severe months during the winter. The abrupt snowfall that was predicted for 5th of January made its presence felt on 4th evening with most parts of the valley experiencing a moderate to heavy snowfall.
However, what proved to be toilsome for all and the sundry was the announcement by the weatherman in Srinagar that the worst was yet to come as a huge precipitation was to be expected from 5th of January. The prediction proved right and the entire valley especially the southern parts witnessed a massive snowfall turning the entire valley into a whitewashed zone.
The massive snowfall brought with itself innumerable woes beginning from power breakdown, road closures and the frightening cold itself. Though the people have become used to all such troubles during the winter but this time around the administration made the miseries look worse with unpreparedness reflecting poorly in every sector.
In Srinagar many areas witnessed road blocks as even the main highways witnessed an unprecedented delay in clearance works as the government machinery failed to respond to the extraordinary crisis that erupted due to the massive downpour.
Similarly the power situation also turned ugly with many of the vital areas falling to the power breakdown. The situation proved even worse for the villages and towns where the restoration works could not even be carried out owing to the poorly equipped staff of the power department.
However, what proved to be more threatening than the power crisis or the winter chill was the circulars and orders issued by the administration. The first one being restricting fuel pump owners on supply of fuel to vehicle owners be it public or private transport. The circular not only created panic among the people but this smacks of the ill preparedness of the administration.
Normally fuel and other essentials are stocked for two months in Kashmir valley once winter sets in. And this kind of a circular has never been issued during winter months depicting that no measures were ensured before the advent of winter in Kashmir valley.
This also raises questions about the maintenance of stock position in those far flung areas which remain cutoff during winter months and have no contact with the rest of the world for month’s altogether.
Winter and the preparedness of the administration is nothing new in a place like Kashmir. The place is known for severe winter months and blockade of the Jammu-Srinagar arterial highway for days or weeks together. But the way the winter stock position and preparedness is being managed by the officials has put them in a tight spot with many questions being raised over their ability to tackle the situation.
All these loopholes that were visible during this hour of crisis should prove to be an eye opener for the administration and they should waste no time to getting them rectified.