SRINAGAR: The early snowfall has triggered a sort of chaos in Kashmir, especially in Srinagar, the capital city. The traffic snarls coupled with the power outages have created a situation that life seemingly has come to a grinding halt.
However, the key concern right now is the tens of thousands of students who are writing their examinations for tenth and twelfth classes. Though the JK State Board of School Education has announced that it would be changing the timing of the examinations from Monday, this, however, will still not be of great help to the students.
The visibility within the examination halls is so dim that it is very difficult to read or write correctly. Most of the educational institutions, being only open during days centers, either lack access to power or has very limited systems. This creates a new crisis when there is no power supply, a case that is currently prevalent. Certain examination centers created news on Friday when the students were seen writing their papers in candlelight. Nowhere in the city is there a report that the examination centers have access to some kind of heating equipment or arrangement.
Traffic snarls have added to the crisis as students are getting stuck midway. On Friday, there were series of reports in which the candidates reached their centres too late and missed part of the timing for writing their papers. A video that had gone viral showed a number of students and their parents actually crying over the loss of time, which the examiners refused to grant.
But there are issues beyond the education and the failure in the delivery of the services.
In parts of Kashmir periphery, the apple growers are still in the middle of harvesting. Those who have already plucked the apple – the main driver of the peripheral economy, have not been able to sort, grade, pack and export their harvest. “We have part of the produce still on trees,” Waseem Ahmad, an apple grower from Shopian said. “We have most of the apple still unsold, unpacked in courtyards.”
Apple growers said the biggest problem is that the snowfall will hurt the trees, which still have foliage. “I am keeping my fingers crossed,” one apple grower said. “Usually, we take care of the running only after the harvest is over.”
Srinagar witnessed a cold wave for last three days as the upper reaches witnessed early snowfall. After massive raining for two days, Srinagar witnessed season’s first snowfall on Saturday morning.
Weather prediction suggests the unruly weather will continue for the next 24 hours following which there is a possibility of an improvement. Global weather websites show a lot for sunlight from Monday that will survive till the next weekend when it will deteriorate further.
Authorities have already closed the major roads connecting Srinagar with Poonch through Mughal Road and the Srinagar-Jammu highway. The closure of the major outgoing roads is adding a lot of crisis to the apple economy. Most of the cold atmosphere stores are reported full with the new crop and lacking any major space for the harvest that is stuck on the road and at homes of the growers. The road to Ladakh is already closed because of the massive snowfall on the Zoji La Pass.
Owing to the low visibility, all the flights to Srinagar have been canceled. An official said there is no possibility of restoration of the air link even on Sunday if the low visibility continues.