In pics | Worst period of winter begins in Kashmir amid erratic power supply | india-news | Hindustan Times
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In pics | Worst period of winter begins in Kashmir amid erratic power supply

Chillai Kalan, the 40-day period of when winter is the coldest, is marked by continuous sub-zero temperatures and snowfall.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2016 14:15 IST
Abhishek Saha
A Kashmiri boatman breaks ice in Dal Lake on a cold morning in Srinagar.
A Kashmiri boatman breaks ice in Dal Lake on a cold morning in Srinagar.(Waseem Andrabi/HT photo)

As the region prepares to face the harshest winter period, traditionally called ‘Chillai Kalan’, which started from Wednesday, power outages in the Valley are adding to the residents’ problems.

People in the Valley are complaining that “arbitrary and prolonged” power cuts are leaving them helpless against the freezing temperatures.

Srinagar recorded a minus 5.5 degrees Celsius – it’s lowest of the season till now – on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

Chillai Kalan, the 40-day period of harshest period of winter, is marked by continuous sub-zero temperatures and snowfall.

A boatman shows an ice slab broken from a frozen part of Dal Lake in Srinagar. (Waseem Andrabi/HT photo)

Parts of the Dal Lake in Srinagar and other water bodies across the region have already frozen and boatmen were seen breaking ice slabs and clearing their way.

“As Chillai Kalan begins on Wednesday, we are expecting further fall in temperatures,” an officer of the state Met department told HT.

Read | Night temperatures fall as Srinagar, Leh record coldest nights of the season

He added that the normal temperature during this period in December was around minus 1 degree but this year, the Valley was undergoing an aberration of around four and a half degrees.

Grass covered in ice on a cold morning in Srinagar. (Waseem Andrabi/HT photo)

People living in non-metered areas of Srinagar say that the situation is terrible. A resident of Nowpora area in old city here said, “The area goes through power cuts stretching at least 10 hours a day.”

While people in metered areas say that at least five hours is the scheduled cut everyday but often there are additional periods of cuts stretching for hours.

However, the state maintains that it is “trying its best to give the available power to the people” but the load increases during winter.

Speaking to HT, chief engineer (maintenance and rural electrification) of the state power development department, Kashmir, Shahnaz Goni said, “The installed capacity of power supply in Kashmir is 1,200 MW, of which 1,150-1,180 MW is successfully delivered.”

A Kashmiri vegetable vendor unloads vegetables from a boat on a cold morning in Srinagar. (Waseem Andrabi/HT photo)

She said the demand for an unrestricted supply is around 1,600 MW.

Goni added that people should use power “intelligently” — in a way which helps the region’s power infrastructure to successfully overcome the peak load during morning and evening hours.