Finally, sub-zero temperature warped Kashmir valley to blow bugle of setting in of harsh winters on Wednesday night. While temperature dips with each passing day, there is sudden rise in power cuts across the valley to inconvenience of thousands of its habitants.
Wednesday night recorded minus 2.2 degree Celsius in Srinagar, first coldest night of the winter. “The night skies have been clear in the valley and temperatures usually rise during cloudy nights. The probable arrival of the western disturbance in north India could increase the temperatures here. Till then, we have cold and dry weather here,” said Kashmir meteorological department assistant director RK Pandita.
Valley’s famous hill stations too are freezing with sub-zero temperature. Pahalgam and Gulmarg recorded around minus 4 degrees Celsius in the night. Temperature hovered around minus two in Kupwara in north and Qazigund in south Kashmir.
The dip in temperature has valley residents rushing to shops to buy heating systems and traditional Kangri (firepot). The Power Development Department, however, has left residents in cold with increase in power cuts. Srinagarfaces 8-10 hour power cut in a day.
“Examination of students is on in schools and colleges. The students are not able to study at ease because of non-availability of electricity,” said Manzoor Ahmad, whose daughter is appearing for a masters-level examination at Kashmir University.
The valley, on an average, consumes 180 lakh units of energy per day (more than 800 MWs), which includes local generation. The peak hour demand shoots up to 1350 MWs. The state only imports 750 MWs of electricity from northern grid.
In the wake of the unrest, the state government has decided to keep the educational institutions in the valley open during winters this year. It will cost the state Rs 9 crore to provide heating facility in schools.