As major snowfall on Tuesday plunged Kashmir Valley into a major electricity crisis and cut off several areas from the district headquarters, chief minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday flew to the summer capital from Jammu to preside over an emergency meeting of senior officials to take stock of the crisis-like situation.
"Road clearance and restoration of important public services affected by the heavy snowfall should be the first concern of government officials," the chief minister told senior officials of the state administration.
Heavy snowfall on Tuesday in the range of 18cm to 60cm has cut off several villages in north and south Kashmir. The government failed to clear the Jammu- Srinagar National Highway and restore railway services due to accumulation of snow near the Qazigund-Banihal stretch. Similarly, the upper reaches of frontier Kupwara remained cut off from the district headquarters.
The chief minister, in a brief by the officials, said 6,000 km roads were cleared of snow by the roads and buildings department.
However, the situation was made worse due to power crisis in many areas. Major areas of Srinagar remained without electricity since Tuesday night, while power breakdowns were also reported from 10 districts in north and south Kashmir.
"There has been a power breakdown since last night, and we are unable to run our heating gadgets. Children are suffering the most," said Azar Khan, a resident of Hawal.
The chief minister, who also holds the power portfolio, said, "Eighty percent power supply will be restored in the Valley by this evening, and in Srinagar and north Kashmir districts, 90% power supply will be restored."
The CM has also directed officials to keep an eye on "hoarders, black-marketers and unscrupulous elements who exploit the unfavourable situation by increasing prices and creating false scarcity of essentials."
Government officials said there were adequate stocks of LPG and food items in the Valley. "As many as 2.15 lakh quintal rice; 25,922 quintal sugar; 93,700 quintal wheat; 6,124 kl kerosene; 3.5 lakh LPG cylinders; 11,256 kl diesel and 2,899 kl petrol are stocked in the Valley," said the government figures.