SHOPIAN: Some 13 kilometres from Shopian on the Mughal road, in Hirpora village residents tell you that electricity “has passed away” leaving them “powerless” in the face of bone-chilling cold.
“Government has abandoned us from every basic facility but no electricity supply for more a week has dragged our lives from the age of modernity to stone age,” Abdul Rehman Sheikh, a 70-year-old pensioner said. “We can’t even use our mobile phones because the electricity hardly visits the area.”
Villagers said that the lone telecommunication tower of Aircel is also dysfunctional without power.
Sheikh heads a family of 12 including four school going children.
“The children went to tuition centers in dirty clothes since there is no electricity from past 15 days. How can we wash the clothes with freezing cold water,” he said.
Aaqib Hussain, Sheikh’s son who is pursuing a computer course in a Shopian based computer institute said that electricity was the only modern amenity for the people living in the far-flung areas like Hirpora. “Most of the people in our area have no inverters, gas heaters or other heating facilities. We have electric heaters that only run on electricity. We are no option to burn the mud stoves at our homes which has taken us to stone age again,” he said.
“We bought new kerosene lamp and our children are doing their home work under them which can adversely affect their health and eyesight,” Sheik said.
Aaqib said that nobody dares to go to mosques or rise early in the morning because no one has strength to bear the intense cold and ice cold water.
Sheikh said that he has not seen such a power crisis in his lifetime.
“Actually it is not crisis of power in terms of electricity but our state is politically powerless where no government has got the guts to take back the power projects from the central government,” Sheikh said.
Aaqib adds that how can politicians understand the sufferings of people in far-flung areas when they were living a comfortable life in government run houses in Jammu.
Suhail Ahmad, their neighbour adds that politicians take their children to Jammu along with them in winters and get their coaching done from renowned institutions, “but our children were even deprived of the electricity”.
“The verbal brawls (in legislature) can’t solve our problems but sympathetic steps from government to bring back the power and upgrade the infrastructure of transmission lines and receiving stations in the valley,” he said.