Anger brews as Valley without power, kerosene


Srinagar, Dec 27: In a chillier than normal winter, the problems for people of Kashmir have escalated in absence of basic amenities required to fight the bone-chilling cold. Primarily, the present power situation in the valley seems to have affected the people most of whom claim that the curtailment period this season has been more compared to the previous years.
As a result, anger is brewing among them against the government, which, they said, has left the people to suffer in the winter.
The power situation for the past few week has turned worse, forcing the people to come on to the streets in different parts of the valley.
In Srinagar city, people claim that the department was resorting to prolonged power cuts due to which they face immense inconveniences.
Both the metered and non-metered consumers in the valley accuse the Power Development Department (PDD) of not following its curtailment schedule and subjecting them to long hours of unscheduled power cuts.
The residents of Bar Bar Shah,Habba Kadal, Fateh Kadal, SafaKadal, Khanyar, Batamaloo localities in downtown areas and Rambagh, Natipora, Sanat Nagar, Humhama of uptown Srinagar alleged that the PDD had extended the hours of curtailment in the last few weeks
“These days we spend most of the time in darkness. The problem becomes even worse during evening and morning hours when we require electricity the most to keep ourselves warm,” said Ghulam Ahmad, a consumer.
“Frequent power cuts have made the situation miserable for us. Despite the fact that we have been paying regular bills, we are left to suffer in the freezing cold,” Abdul Rehman, a resident of Batamaloo, said.
The consumers from north Kashmir’s Sopore, Kupwara, Pattan and Baramulla areas claim that PDD was subjecting them to long hours of darkness despite the areas falling in metered category.
“We belong to the sub-urban areas but the magnitude of the problem is such that we have to sleep before 9pm and get up at 7am to cook and complete other domestic works. The entire Kashmir has been left at the mercy of God, as the government is concentrating on Jammu region,” Abdul Hameed, a teacher from Baramulla, said.
Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam, and Shopian areas of south Kashmir has similar woes to narrate.
They said that their sufferings see no end as most of the small-scale industries have closed their operations in absence of proper power supply.
“We have saw mills here which are currently lying defunct. The cricket bat factories too have ceased to produce more products as power often plays a spoilsport,” said Riyaz Ahmad, worker at a cricket bat factory in Anantnag.
Similarly, most parts of the valley are also going through fuel crisis.Locals from many areas of Kashmir said that Kerosene supply to their respective areas have declined in the past few months, resulting in its shortage in the ongoing winter.
“Kerosene is being provided to the consumers but its quota should have been enhanced during winter months as power often plays a spoilsport here. We keep on utilizing more than what is supplied and thus have to rely on black markets then,” Saleem Ahmad, a resident of Khanyar, Srinagar said.
The other parts of the valley, including rural habitations of north and south Kashmir, also said that the Kerosene supply has been reduced during the winter months.
“In absence of power, Kerosene is mostly used for domestic works. But when it is not provided as per quota, we have to rely on firewood or some other forms of fuel,” Sajad Ahmad a B A Ist years student from Pulwama, said.
Recently, people at different places came on roads in Srinagar and its outskirts to protests against the erratic power.
The civil society groups and business bodies also appealed the government to improve the power situation in the valley.
Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) has decided to file a petition before J&K State Regulatory Commission against the Power Development Department (PDD) for 'pursuing harsh and discriminatory power curtailment'.
Reportedly, the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, has expressed dismay over the power scenario in Kashmir and has asked the PDD to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the consumers during winter season.