Planning Blind Spot

in most of the world are a phase that people enjoy. Winter tourism is a huge business worldwide. Off late, Kashmir is trying its bit to get its share especially from Gulmarg, the winter wonderland that has the finest quality of snow fit for skiing. Hundreds of honeymooners from the mainland and abroad fly in to enjoy at discounted tariff’s by the hospitality sector.

While the government is planning many things during winter, could its policy makers sit and start listing the problems that the residents face. The season needs to be understood beyond the control rooms that are typically set up to clear the snow from the roads.

There have been light snowing in the periphery early this month and the only impact that the plains of Kashmir have got is fall in mercury. But the problems have started. The energy consumption level is up and the supply position is down. The load shedding is in place and will increase in coming days.

But the long queues of consumers waiting for their turn to get the LPG cylinders is an ubiquitous sight almost everywhere between 7 and 9 am in the capital city. Authorities say there are more than 100 thousand cylinders available in the city but the market trends suggest the demand supply chain is facing problems at some level. A re-fill sells for Rs 530 in black market. Authorities have their own cozy office calculations for the requirements of the market.

Take the LPG: the supplies are almost the same as they were last year. But the yearly growth in the population and the new households who have opted for using LPG stoves is apparently not factored in. Winters devour a lot of LPG for warming as tens of thousands of heating stoves are sold every year. And finally, the LPG is finding its way for replacing petrol in the personal cars. All these pressures should have been factored in while deciding the requirement of a market that has no other option for winter other than LPG.

It is hard to understand why the same policy and planning attention cannot be paid to the winter needs of Kashmir division as has traditionally and rightly been paid to the Ladakh region? All kinds of supplies are stored well inj advance in the region. But, for Kashmir supply conditions and distribution of energy, particularly LPG, become a nightmare for most consumers. It is not a tall expectation to have enough storage facility inside the valley and spruce up and expand the distribution network for the same.  

It is not enough to release the stocks position as and when shortages become apparent. The officialdom must ask itself that if they are satisfied with the stocks position then what creates an ‘artificial scarcity’ as far as the comer households are concerned. There is a desperate need to keep the residents in the frame of the picture postcards of winter that the government is planning to hawk around. People live in Kashmir. Start counting them without elections as well.

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