Snow In Kashmir

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Snow In Kashmir
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Snow is not new to Kashmir and when flakes of snow start falling it brings cheers on the faces of people who have been yearning for it. The winter of Kashmir is incomplete without heavy snowfall and when snow gets delayed people start praying for it. This year due to long dry spell people have been praying for the snowfall not only to end the dry spell that was one of the longest dry spells in the recent past but also the bright sunshine in the month of December had started giving signals the snow will again evade the Valley like previous winters. And when Meteorological department predicted snowfall, the news was received warmly by the people who started celebrating it on the social networking sites. And when the flakes of snow started touching ground on Friday, jubilant residents started posting pictures with snow from all across the Valley, however when the intensity of the snow increased during the night, the administration was caught off guard, the departments – Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Urban Engineering Department (UEED), Roads and Buildings department  were missing from the scene. Though hilly areas of Kashmir received three to four feet of snow, the city observed just five to six inches of the snow. Few inches of snow left the entire administration buried under it. With frequent traffic jams, waterlogging and missing electricity, the people started cursing their fate. Even this all happened when Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti and senior members of her cabinet were present in the summer capital making preparations for the first death anniversary of Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. The administration that has been making tall claims about preparation to fight the winter few weeks ago was missing for complete 24 hours, only to get active when people stated posting strong messages and pictures on the social networking sites about the missing government. In the rural Kashmir the situation was much worse instead of departments meant to clear the roads, the policemen and volunteers were clearing snow from the streets and the main roads. The roads leading to hospitals were cleared after 24 hours. Though for the photo ops chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti along with senior officers could be seen monitoring the snow clearance operation in some parts of the city, but at the time of Chief Minister’s visit the entire city was plunged into darkness. These things expose the preparedness of the government in the fragile state where a small incident could snowball into a big controversy. The snow in the foreign countries is being enjoyed as administration is always geared up to meet any exigency and people enjoy snow with their families by taking long walks.  And here in Kashmir it turns to be a curse in absence of road clearance and missing electricity. The silver lining, however, is for the Valleys Tourism sector; the Gulmarg has received three to four feet of snow in the past one week. The picturesque Gulmarg is covered with white blanket and will attract both domestic and foreign tourists. The slopes of Gulmarg are worlds best for the skiing and good infrastructure could turn it into best place for the winter tourism that will help in reviving the Tourism sector that is passing through stress. Once again the government should take snow as a challenge and try to mitigate problems faced by people; otherwise with official inefficiency God’s gift will turn into curse.

 

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