Drowned Again

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As soon as snow began to fall and people were struggling to negotiate through slippery roads administration was nowhere to be seen. The scenes on most of the city roads reminded people of chaos that they have witnessed during harsh Chilla Kalan. Three days of continuous snowfall put entire Kashmir out of gear. Snow is nothing new to Kashmir but why administration is always caught napping during such emergency situations is beyond a common man’s comprehension. It took two days to restore electric supply to most part of Srinagar city not to mention the condition of countryside. With most of the main roads still waterlogged it has added to common mans woes. Throughout the year state administration makes claims that they are prepared to face any eventuality. But when the moment actually arrived they failed miserably. Imagine at the start of tourist season Kashmir’s main business hub is completely submerged in water. Tourists were seen negotiating their way through waterlogged streets to reach their respective hotels. And with no electricity in hotels they had no option but to take their dinner under candle light. How can a state where snow is a recurring phenomenon afford not to have a comprehensive and fool proof disaster management policy? Why can’t we have functional disaster management centres in every district so that when such a situation arises we are able to face it effectively? But it all depends on governments will. So far the approach that government has been having towards dealing with such situation is half hearted and haphazard. They act only when pushed to the wall by hapless people. With no accountability whatsoever government takes its own time in addressing the issues concerning general masses. Take for example the main road that connects rest of the valley to Srinagar. One has to manage through heavily potholed waterlogged road to access basic healthcare facilities in Srinagar. And for a ride of 10 kilometres from Pampore to a hospital in Srinagar it takes more than 2 hours because of pathetic road condition. It baffles any sane person that how actually government performs. First they laid road near Panthachowk and then somebody remembered that there should be underground pipes for water. And the road was again dug to make way for laying of pipes, adding to commuter’s woes! What one fails to understand is how government can neglect such a crucial part of people’s lives like access to concrete roads. In any part of the world roads are lifeline connecting people to different parts of the state. But that connection is missing in Kashmir. One has to depend on ones skills to manage through such roads. Snow is just a temporary part of Kashmiris life that government uses as an alibi for its inefficiency but what about rest of the year.

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