By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: Winter setting early this year has thrown up numerous challenges for people. They are aware of the fact that the next few months are going to be tough and they are preparing themselves to face the harsh weather conditions.
Temperatures have already fallen and the weather has turned cold. Intermittent spells of rains in plains and snow in upper reaches are an indication that winter this year is again going to be harsh. There has been a change in weather pattern. During the past three years winter has been arriving early and this year too the weather conditions have turned inclement early. Winter is nothing new for Kashmir and people are used to it. “People start facing problems when Srinagar-Jammu National Highway gets blocked and remains closed for days together. This leads to scarcity of essentials and skyrocketing of the prices of the commodities,” said Farooq Ahmed.
He said, “We have been hearing for the past many years that the highway is being repaired and once the work is completed things will become better. We are waiting for the day when the closure of the highway will become history. For the time being we know that we will have to bear with the vagaries and the highway closure.”
An official said, “People need not worry that all the arrangements are being put in place to ensure that masses don’t face shortage of the essential commodities in the coming months.”
He said that help lines have been set up in every district and enough stock has been sent to the far-flung areas that get cut-off due to snowfall. “The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway is in a much better condition than the previous years as the work has been completed on the main portion of the road,” the official added.
A businessman said, “Shortage of essential commodities in the winter season is nothing new. This year it can increase as the traders have not been able to retain stocks due to increased prices of the commodities and payment terms strictly being cash. If the highway gets blocked for a longer duration it could be a problem. We are ordering limited stock due to financial constraints and other issues.”
However, the administration is confident about handling the situation. “We are focused on our jobs and are aware of what people need. The commodities that government monitors have been stocked,” said an official.