he winter season in Kashmir is perhaps the harshest, yet the most beautiful. Starting from 21 December, our Valley endures a 40-day winter period known as ‘Chillai Kalan’, which roughly translates to the ‘harshest days of winter’. To cope with the sub-zero temperatures, the Kashmiris turn to their traditional methods. Pheran – the knee-length cloak – is accompanied by the kangri to keep oneself warm.
With sub-zero temperatures across the Valley, daily life for residents becomes fraught with challenges, disrupted water supply with frozen taps becoming a common sight. Frequent power cuts only amplify the cold and add to the discomfort.
The biggest problems start when the power supply goes for a toss. There are still hundreds of villages in Kashmir where electricity is absent from days. Decades of dealing with the same problem should ideally have helped authorities to prepare better and ensure that winters don’t mean the same unassailable problems for the public. That hasn’t been the case so far.
What would a person do in sub-zero temperatures without proper power supply. How would a common man cook his meals? With what gadget would he keep his rooms warm? The rich have their Hamams. What does a common man have?
Our valley has huge hydroelectricity potential. Why can not our valley have a 24-hour electricity? Why can not we cook our meals, have baths with hot water and keep our rooms warm during winters?
The government needs to look towards this problem seriously. How many more dark winters shall we endure?