Srinagar: Winter this year it seems is going to be a testing time for the residents of the Valley and those living on the upper ranges of the state. This year winter chill has knocked on our doors with a bang with temperature plummeting to minus 4.2 degrees in Srinagar during the first week of December alone.
The indications have provided us a pointer that the harsh winter days are going to be remembered for long. And if the situation on various fronts like power, drinking water and connectivity remain the same then surely this winter period will leave an indelible mark on our memories.
What is ironic is that like the weather gods, the government too has failed the people much ahead of the culmination of the winter months. The power scenario is so dark that even metered areas in Srinagar city are facing worse power curtailments. Most of the areas are complaining that power cuts are getting frequent and availability of power is eluding the people like never before. Even most areas across the length and breadth are complaining about non availability of potable water and other basic facilities.
This is just the beginning of the long winter months that will test our nerves as the people here believe that they have been left to fend for themselves. The government machinery it seems is lost in wilderness as confusion among the rank and file of the administration is reining supreme.
The naive view of the government of remaining insensitive to the needs of the people can also be judged from the fact that the winter secretariat that was setup here during the harsh winter months too has been cancelled since the past three years now.
The setting up of winter secretariat where some senior ministers were deputed all along to be available towards the people’s needs was a requirement that was cancelled off in a jiffy. The establishing of winter secretariat was started as an emergency measure during Governor’s rule in nineties; however, over a period of time the secretariat had become a subsidiary platform for the people to approach ministers for redressal of their grievances.
The incumbent regime abandoned the practice in 2015, by assuring the people that its ministers would frequently visit Kashmir during winters, but in reality only few of them turn up.
The availability of ministers becomes all the more important as the officials most of whom are non-residents don’t understand the sensitiveness and needs of people.
In 1987, when former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had come to Kashmir and remained stranded here for few days due to abrupt snowfall, he underlined that the government is most needed in Kashmir during harsh winters.
He as a prime Minister felt that the government is non-existent in Kashmir at a time when it is most-needed.