A massive traffic jam was witnessed on Monday around famous Dal Lake as locals staged a sit-in to protest against alleged failure of the government to address their problems, including the issue of frequent flooding of the area by rain water.
Hundreds of agitated residents, mostly women, took to the streets and blocked the main road at Dalgate, a tourist hub due to its proximity to the lake, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded on Boulevard and Hazratbal routes. Shops and business establishments in the area also remained closed as a part of the protest. The demonstrators were angry over the frequent flooding of the area by rain water, continued rise of water in Dal Lake and failure of the government to rationalise electricity tariff.
The protesters were seen singing folk songs denouncing the government for its failure to mitigate their problems. "The rain water is seeping into our homes, making our lives miserable. We are unable to perform normal work. This is the fate of tourist hub and you can better judge the condition of other places," Ali Mohammad Dar, one of the protesters, said.
He said they had brought the problem into the notice of the department concerned but they had miserably failed, forcing the residents to pour on the roads to seek justice. Another protester, Fazi Begum, said despite erratic power supply, the electricity tariffs were hiked unilaterally.
"We are not going to lift the blockade unless our demands are met," she said. The protesters also alleged that the government failed to provide them the compensation for the damage caused by massive floods last year. "While as the affected population elsewhere were provided some sort of compensation, no such relief was given to us. We failed to understand why this disparity?" a protester said, demanding early release of compensation.