With the first snowfall in the Kashmir valley, residents have been subjected to many hardships. Despite the tall claims made by civil administration that its machinery was ready to tackle any situation rising out of heavy snowfall in the valley this season, the administration seems to have become defunct after the very first snowfall.
Snow that was cleared from the roads has been dumped in huge amounts on the road-sides creating a lot of problems for pedestrians. Adding to the miseries is the continuous rainfall since morning. With no measures to drain the water from the roads in Baramulla, roads have virtually been converted into drains, with vast amounts of water flowing on both sides of the road.
"It's really difficult for pedestrians to walk on these road-sides without getting all their clothes wet, as at some places the water is two feet high and so it enters our shoes," said Bashir Ahmed, a resident of old town Baramulla. He added, "Making the situation worse are fast- running vehicles whose tyres splash all water on passers-by."
Shopkeepers in the town are also complaining that the authorities have dumped the snow just outside their shops, making the entry of the customers 'very difficult', and thus 'hampering' their business. "How can a customer enter our shop when there is a huge heap of snow outside them? They (authorities) have spoiled our business, and we may have to wait till this snow melts down," said Manzoor Ahmed Tantray, a hosiery dealer in Baramulla.
Though the Baramulla Municipal Council started construction of a drain on the national highway to drain the stagnated water of rain and snow in summer this year, it has not been completed. This has further added to the miseries of the people of Baramulla as the half-constructed drain has been left open.
"The drain has not been covered and no measures have been taken for the water from the roads to enter the drain. The drain has become a problem for us, as at some places it is not visible because of the snow and anybody can fall in it and severely injure themselves," said Mohamed Ashraf Sofi, a resident of main market Baramulla.
With the closure of Jammu Srinagar National Highway due to landslides triggered by snowfall, essential commodities have either been dumped by dealers or the costs of essential commodities have gone up drastically.
"Since last the two days I am trying to get a refilled cooking gas cylinder, but the dealer says that he has none and I am also running out of kerosene oil. I am worried how we will cook our meals," said Rifat Bano, a housewife in dewan bagh Baramulla.
Yasir Ahmed, another resident of Baramulla said, "Shopkeepers are taking an undue advantage of the closure of the road. They have raised the cost of everything: chicken is sold at 70 rupees a kilo whereas the cost of potatoes has been raised by five to ten rupees per kilo at many places."
Despite the assurances given by the district administration, no officer was there to monitor the rates of essential commodities, nor was any officer of the Baramulla Municipal Council seen arranging for the removal of the flowing water from the roads of Baramulla.
Tejinder Singh Sodhi email@example.com