Every winter in Kashmir one major challenge has remained connectivity, electricity, and water – the three main things, which seem to vanish when it snows. The Jammu and Kashmir administration has always failed to address these issues of people when there is bad weather. Last week, too, heavy snowfall cut off not just rural areas only but the summer capital Srinagar was also cutoff with no clearance of roads. Even though one agrees that the intensity of snow was heavy but yet the administration has not found a mechanism to deal with such crises. In 2014, when heavy rainfall led to the devastating floods in Kashmir, lessons should have been learned. But nothing was learned at all. That time too Srinagar city’s drainage system failed and flood channels were filled with constructions of various structures leading to blockage of channels for water to escape.
This time it was snowing. We have half of the year as winter with rain and snow both but our roads, lanes, streets and even construction have been a failure. The government must take serious steps towards rectifying how the city is planned, and how a region can deal with devastating weather conditions. Development can’t just be macadamized roads alone; it also needs proper drainage, planner markets, and residential areas. Without these aspects, the day is not far that Srinagar will once again drown in floodwaters. There needs to be a check on the loot of forests too, which plays a significant role in maintaining balance. It all leads to how our government sector functions – how bureaucracy acts in these times, and how we as a society respond to any calamity.