SRINAGAR: A different variety of ‘kebabs’ are providing warmth this winter in Kashmir, though they are devoid of any mutton or meat and are, in fact, polymer-based! These are actually insulating covers that are fitted on water pipes to prevent the water from freezing during frosty conditions.
A prolonged spell of freezing conditions this winter has pushed the sale of these foam hoses that resemble in shape mutton kebabs, and hence have been coined as ‘Nalke Kebab’. They are manufactured in different sizes according to the size of GI pipes on which they are mostly used.
Sub-zero temperatures in winters are a common cause of water outage in homes as exposed pipes allow the water inside to freeze.
Users of these insulation covers say that the Nalke Kebabs are quite effective in preventing freezing and keeping the taps operational.
Mushtaq Ahmad, a resident of Magam area in Budgam, said that winters in Kashmir had been quite warm during the past few years, but this year people have been compelled to cover the exposed water lines.
“Insulations on pipe fittings, mostly the exposed ones, were carried out in the past as well. People would cover the lines with paddy hay and jute matting. These have now been replaced by these ‘kebabs’ that come handy and are easy to fit on pipes of different sizes,” said Mushtaq.
Shah Mohammed Afzal, a seller of these foam hoses, said that frozen pipes are also highly susceptible to cracks and these ‘Nalke Kebabs’ work as good insulators and prevent the developing of cracks. This year, he said, the sale has been vibrant owing to significant drop in temperatures, especially during nights.
He said the hoses are sold according to diameter and come in lengths of six feet. They are sold at Rs 30-40 according to diameter.
“Most of them are manufactured within the valley, though a high-end variant is also imported from Malaysia but is costly,” said Shah, adding that the high-quality variant of these foam hoses is traditionally used in air conditioners for insulation purpose.
Most of the sales, according to Shah, were witnessed in December and the first week of January, when night temperatures were very low. Demand also picked up in other districts, he said.
Sales have declined now, he said, and retailers have plenty of stock available with them.
Rafiq Ahmad, a home owner in Srinagar, said that another option to protect bursting of water pipes is usage of Polypropylene Random (PPR) pipes, though they, too, need insulation in case of being exposed.
He added that insulating the PPR pipes can ensure constant supply of water, without resorting to keeping the taps running and thereby wasting a lot of water. Ahmad said that even the administration has urged home owners to keep the taps dripping, thus adding to the water wastage.