Srinagar: Despite major improvement in the weather conditions, life continued to remain crippled in the summer capital, Srinagar for the sixth successive day on Friday as majority of the interior roads, link roads and by-lanes remained under snow, adversely affecting pedestrian and vehicular movement.
Some areas continued to remain under darkness while others witnessed frequent power cuts in the city, where people alleged that garbage has not been picked up by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) from last over six days.
Most of the private vehicles remained off the roads since Tuesday afternoon as snow has not been cleared from interior roads, link-roads and bylanes, exposing authorities, who despite tall claimed have not been able deliver after the city received about 2 feet of snow earlier this week.
BJP leader Manzoor Bhat on Thursday said that he hired JCBs to clear roads blocked by heavy snow in Srinagar, contradicting the J&K administration’s claim that it was making efforts to do.
Another BJP leader Khalid Jehangir said that the government headed by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha should make public how much money has been spent on clearing the snow across Kashmir since January 3 when snowfall commenced.
Taking a jibe at the administration, former chief minister and National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah said even the BJP is dissatisfied with snow clearance in Kashmir. ”In fact they’ve gone a step further & alleged financial malfeasance. So much for all the press notes & social media back slapping by the administration claiming to have done an amazing job after the snow storm,” Mr Abdullah tweeted.
Meanwhile, Srinagarites continued to face hardships in the aftermath of heavy snowfall in the city, where Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu admitted that SMC was ill-equipped to clear snow from 7500 lanes of Srinagar but promised to improve the system. ”15 JCBs and loaders are not enough to clear 15,000 lanes across Srinagar. It is embarrassing to see SMC and other departments clearing snow with shovels,” he said.
Mattu further said had machines been procured, the SMC would have cleared the snow within 24 hours.
However, people are asking why money would be spent on SMC Corporators’ visit to Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra to participate in a study-tour instead of procuring equipment. ”If the SMC is ill-equipped to clear snow, it should utilize money on procuring machinery instead of a study-tour to Mumbai, where BMC has a bad track record of dealing with monsoon in Mumbai. What is that they will learn there? They want to go for a holiday and nothing else,” Omar Gassi, a resident of Natipora told UNI.
He said all the by-lanes and interior roads remained under a foot of snow and even after six days the administration seems to be sleeping. ”Once the temperature goes below sub-zero, the snow will freeze and the number of people going to hospital with broken bones will increase many folds,” he added.
An official spokesperson on Thursday said that snow clearance was stepped up in Srinagar when the main focus of the operation was link roads and lanes. ”To clear link roads and lanes, the R&B Department had pressed over 110 machines – including 48 JCBs and 64 Tractors – into service. Over 900 kilometers of road length – put together – were snow-cleared in the effort. Smallers lanes where machines could not reach were cleared manually. Thousands of men were pressed into service for manual snow-clearance — these included hundreds deployed by the R&B alongside some 3000 SMC workers,” he said.
He said the Mechanical Engineering Department carried out widening of clear corridors on main roads across Srinagar, adding by 1800 hrs on Thursday, over 1100 out of 1300 kilometres of main road length were widened.
However, the claims were contrary to the situation on the ground as majority of the interior roads in uptown, downtown and even civil lines remained covered with snow. In some areas, the snow has melted due to sunshine and the roads are waterlogged. “Interior roads in Budshah Nagar, Natipora, Aazad Basti, Nowgam, Chanapora and adjoining areas in uptown Srinagar were not cleared,” Nazir Ahmad, a resident of Budshah Nagar, told UNI.
Similar reports were coming from other parts of Srinagar city, where BJP leader and its former spokesman Khalid Jehangir tweeted, ”The government headed by @manojsinha_ @OfficeOfLGJandK should make public how much money has been spent on clearing the snow across Kashmir since Jan 3 2021 when snowfall commenced. Will also file RTI.”