Life remains crippled in Kashmir due to snow, cold conditions

United News of India

Srinagar, January 15, 2012

Life remained affected in the Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, where people are facing acute shortage of water, because of frozen taps, and cooking gas, with slippery road conditions adding to their woes.
Life was thrown out of gear after the first heavy snowfall on January 7 which snapped electricity for about a week after all transmission lines, importing power to Kashmir, were  damaged at several places in Pirpanchal and Ramban areas.
However, after three days the power supply was partially restored to main towns while the far-flung areas continued to face darkness.
The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was also blocked, resulting in shortage of essentials, particularly LPG gas cylinders.
However, the situation worsened during the past three days when the minimum dropped to lowest of the season minus 7.8 degree, freezing the Dal Lake and other water bodies and water taps.
Despite using all methods, the water taps remained frozen, resulting in major water crisis.
People said water pipes, taps and other instruments were damaged after water inside was frozen due to minus temperature.
The main pipes of water works were also frozen while the water level in the Jhelum river and other main rivers and their tributaries considerably dropped after snowfall on the mountains.
Today streets wore almost a deserted look as people stayed inside because of continued snowfall and cold outside for the past two days.
Though the authorities pressed into service snow clearance machines to clear the snow on main streets, the roads remained slippery.
Less number of vehicles, including those carrying passengers, were seen on the roads. However, they were moving in very low speed because of slippery conditions. There was also less pedestrian movement because of slippery road conditions.
The attendance in government offices and private institutions remained affected.
More than 250 people were injured after they slipped on slippery roads following snowfall.
People said there was a shortage of cooking gas in the valley, including Srinagar city. Authorities admitted that there was shortage of cooking gas for which they have decided to provide only five kg gas cylinders to consumers till the situation improves.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asghar Hassan Samoon  said despite heavy snowfall and closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway for vehicular traffic, 15 bulk tankers of LPG arrived at HPCL Plant, Pampore yesterday while 80 truckloads reached Srinagar. The present stock position of LPG is around 30,000 cylinders. 
In view of the road closure, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir has ordered rationing of LPG and directed the oil companies to fill only 5 Kgs in the domestic cylinders, so that more people can be accommodated, till the Srinagar-Jammu highway reopens. 
The rate of 5 kg LPG has been fixed at Rs 154 per cylinder by CAPD Department. 
Samoon said there is no shortage of essentials in the Valley and directed to all Deputy Commissioners and Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) officers for making extra efforts for smooth distribution of these essentials to the consumers. 
He said 45 kg of ration to APL and 50 kg of ration should be provided to BPL families. He also said there is a buffer stock of sugar and kerosene oil available in the godowns. However, he directed to Deputy Commissioners to get lifted the same from the odowns and ensure its distribution to the consumers in their respective districts.
Samoon also issued directions to the Deputy Commissioners and CA&PD officers to intensify market checking squads in their districts strictly for curbing the black marketing and artificial hoardings.