Snow woes: Shopian admin struggles to restore connectivity

Snow woes: Shopian admin struggles to restore connectivity
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Power, water supply badly impacted

Shopian: The state government was never prepared to meet the challenges of a natural calamity, not even a heavy snowfall in Kashmir, keeping in view the available men and machinery.
Most of the link roads in district Shopian were still covered with snow on Friday, with officials of Roads and Buildings department saying that 40 percent of priority first and 35 percent of priority second roads were cleared- that too a narrow passage for vehicular movement.
Similarly major parts of the district are without water supply since Wednesday resulting in immense problems to people, who were forced to use water of contaminated streams and canals.
Several people from Keller, Kathalan, Vehil, Pinjora, and Turkwangam areas told Kashmir Reader that there has been no water supply for the last two days. Residents claim that 90 percent of the district is without water supply.
Officials from Public Health Engineering (PHE) department told Kashmir Reader that it is a tough work to restore the water supply as 86 of the 90 water schemes have been affected by the snowfall. Among them 41 were partially restored and seven fully, the said.
“Due to the intensity of snow, majority of our schemes get affected, our men are working hard. Keeping in view the altitude of Shopian it is a very tearsome work to restore it. It will take us more than two days to restore the supplies,” Executive Engineer PHE Shopian, Muhammad Aslam told Kashmir Reader. He said that two of the 11 lift schemes were restored by using power generators.
Resident of Shopian town rued that men and machinery of Municipal Committee were good for nothing, “except handing out illegal permissions for constructions”.
“They (municipal committee) were not able to clear even a single street and foot path in the town,” a local resident said. “It seems we are living in Torabora mountains instead of district headquarter,” he added.
The connectivity of the district with Srinagar and neighbouring districts was also disrupted by the snow.
However officials from Mechanical Engineering department claimed 90 percent of priority first roads and 50 percent of priority second roads were cleared.
Residents said a narrow clearance has been created by the department on the main roads.
“Only one vehicle passes at a time, if second comes they both get stuck,” a resident said.
Officials said they are making efforts to open the roads by priority.
“The rescue of pregnant ladies and many patients took time yesterday which resulted in accumulation of more snow on roads. We have seven machines in all but they too get stuck in the heavy snow,” Assistant Executive Engineer, Mechanical division Shopian Fayaz Ahmad told Kashmir Reader.
“Some bulldozers for snow clearance in hilly areas is need of hour in district. Using snow cutters is a time consuming process. Yesterday we sent a cutter to Hirpora and it is yet to return. Similarly the machines which were deployed on Kathalan and Keller roads are yet to return,” he added.
Power supplies in major parts of district were yet to be restored, however, services to power stations have been restored. The lack of power supply has created immense problems to people especially patients.
Executive Engineer Power Development Department Shopian told Kashmir Reader that the men are on work to restore the services.
“Areas like Chitragam, Killora, Shopian town have been restored and technical staffers were restoring the lines to village areas one by one,” he said.
“It will take us more time to restore the services as the power infrastructure has sustained damages at many places. Fortunately there is no damage to towers and grid stations. If weather remains pleasant the services in most of the areas will be restored by Saturday evening,” he said.