‘State administration was ill-prepared for the snowfall’
Srinagar: Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said that all claims made by the government on their alertness have been exposed with few inches of snow causing massive power breakdown, road blockades, scarcity of ration, water-logging and other difficulties faced by the people.
Despite the prediction by the Meteorological Department, state administration was ill-prepared for the snowfall. Although snowfall is not something new to the state given its climatic conditions and topography, the administration seems resisting change in its rusty work culture.
With a few inches of snow the entire administration comes to a grinding halt which is reflective of a dire need for strengthening of disaster preparedness in Jammu and Kashmir.
Snow is yet to be cleared on several roads in rural areas across the valley resulting in tremendous hardship to the general public. Due to the closure of 300-kilometers long Srinagar-Jammu national highway for the last three days, hundreds of passengers, including children and women, are stranded in Jammu.
The airfares have sky rocketed due to the closure of the highway but the government is least bothered.
To meet the challenges, the higher-ups in administration need to ensure better coordination between various departments especially those providing essential services.
The government must ensure that there was no chaos for scarcity of essential commodities including LPG, kerosene oil and sugar and emergency services should be monitored and damaged power distribution lines immediately repaired.
Referring to the problems caused to the people by the latest snowfall resulting in massive power breakdown which has plunged the valley, especially remote areas in south Kashmir, into total darkness, he asked the administration to expedite the restoration of power supply as people have been braving biting cold.
Power Development Department (PDD) has also failed to create a buffer stock of electricity transformers at divisional level to address the situation surfaced due to damaged transformers.
The step-down transformers, installed in every neighborhood develop technical snags and the consumers are left helpless in darkness and freezing cold till the process of lifting, repairing and re-installing a faulty transformer is completed in weeks together.
The faulty policies of PDD for the damages of electricity transformers is the reason for the mess. The department has never bothered to open workshops at district level to repair the damaged transformers due to which these have be to sent to the central workshops where it takes weeks.
Earlier in some cases, the department would send the damaged transformers to private workshops, but that process has also been stopped as government has not cleared the previous payments to them.
(With inputs from KNS)