Testing peoples’ patience


It is business as usual. Your shrieks and shrills do hardy matter. The men in power are little moved by the problems you face. They go by pro forma — designed and devised decades ago. As the people in the valley are facing a crisis of sorts due to lack of electricity, the ‘never-mind’ policy of the administrators is the only answer they get in response. The louder you cry, the quieter you find the administration. The unscheduled load-shedding and prolonged power cuts have left the entire valley under huge dark cover. Most parts of the valley including capital Srinagar are virtually reeling under darkness. The situation is alike in metered and non-metered areas. Following outrage, post bi-annual durbar move in November, Chief Minister Mehbooba Muftil expressed her dismay over reports of frequent and unscheduled cuts in power supply and asked the PDD to devise ways and means to ensure regulated supply of electricity during winter months. For the past few weeks the situation has gone worse with people expressing anguish against the erratic energy supply even as Power Development Department (PDD) Kashmir has been asking consumers for making judicious use of the electricity for better and dependable supply. The mess in power supply could be understood by the fact the three-hour long power cut in metered areas in capital Srinagar has been extended by three more hours. Officially, there is six-hour power cut in metered areas now. The average power-cut in non-metered areas is 10 hours but as the situation goes, there is no schedule for power cuts in any area of the valley. It could be any time and for any amount of time. On days, even metered areas are put to power cuts for hours together. The power supply in rural areas is more erratic. There are villages and areas where electricity is not visible for days together. One can just see a glimpse of electricity for a while (less than 10 minutes) once in 24 hours. The non-availability of electricity has badly hit commercial activity. The industrial units all across the valley remain shut for most of the time bringing a halt in commercial activity. The shops and business establishments in Srinagar and all other major towns too have to bring down their shutters early in the evening as power supply remains shut on most occasions. There have been protests against PDD and government in some areas but these have gone unheard. Over the past few days people in several areas protested on the roads against the government failure in providing scheduled power supply to the consumers leading to halt in traffic movement at various places. With the winter casting its shadows ferociously on Kashmir, the darkness in coming days is likely to increase. The government, as usual, is little concerned about the power crisis in the valley. It goes without saying that the people of the valley have been taken for ride by the government and its wings. They care little about the sufferings and problems of the valley people. The indifference of the government to the problems of common people is in no way in the interest of the state. Just to remind the government that it was the power crisis in 1988 that gave rise to peoples’ anger of late 80s. Over half dozen residents had died in police action during protests against power shortage in 1988. It was just within a year that valley people took to armed movement which later spread to Jammu and parts of Ladakh as well. It is time for the authorities to take note of peoples’ problems in Kashmir and take measures before the situation would take an ugly turn. It would not be going overboard to suggest that the problems in Kashmir owe their existence to the insensitivity and indifference on the matters of immediate concern by the ruling class. That leads to anger among masses. It is very unfortunate that instead of attending to the problems of the people, the government has set on a six-moth sojourn to the warm climate of Jammu leaving people to mend for themselves.