Without electricity, Valley gets 'charged' at hospitals, restaurants | india | Hindustan Times
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Without electricity, Valley gets 'charged' at hospitals, restaurants

As Srinagar shivered at a minimum of minus six degree Celsius and a maximum of minus one, the harshest so far, on Monday, residents have found hotspots to charge their mobile phones and work on laptops: hospitals and restaurants.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2012 22:17 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

As Srinagar shivered at a minimum of minus six degree Celsius and a maximum of minus one, the harshest so far, on Monday, residents have found hotspots to charge their mobile phones and work on laptops: hospitals and restaurants.

For heating, people switched to traditional hamams -- a room where fire is lit beneath for hours together to generate heat through special stones.

On day four of the major power breakdown in the valley, the government was able to partially restore electricity, with many areas still reeling under darkness on Monday.

"We flew a team of engineers in a chopper and dropped them at Chanderkot (in Pir Panjal mountain range with snow cover of more than five feet). The 220 MW Kishanpore-Pampore Transmission Line has started," said Power Grid Corporation of India executive director SC Singh. The restoration work on the 400 MW Kishanpore-Wagoora is yet to start.

Both the lines feeding power to Kashmir were snapped in Pir Panjal mountain range on previous Friday evening.

The partial restoration and local generation did light up parts of Srinagar for a few hours on Sunday evening. South Kashmir districts, however, remained worst affected with most areas without electricity for fourth consecutive day on Monday. At present, the valley is able to generate 87 MW locally against the demand of 950 MW. But the government has succeeded in restoring around 600 MW. Chief engineer system and operations (S&O), Ayaz Gull, said that power supply has been restored in 40% areas of South Kashmir, 98% areas of City and 99% areas of North Kashmir.

In Srinagar, hospitals like Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS), Sher-i-Kashmir Institue of Medical Sciences, saw unusual rush of people with chargers and mobile phones.

"Leave aside power sockets at the hospital corridor, even my room was knocked by desperate people a dozen times to get their electronic gadgets charged," said Dr Sajad Khan, working at SMHS.

The scene is no different at Coffea Arabica and Cafe Coffee Day, Srinagar's favourite hangouts. "We have customers in queues asking to charge their gadgets. Many work on their laptops for hours together. More than a dozen power points are busy all day," said Majid Ahmad, a worker at Coffea Arabica.

The sub-zero temperature was obvious in Srinagar on Monday. Long icicles were hanging from houses and trees all day without melting a bit. "Nights are clear, lowering temperatures further, with snowfall on the ground retaining it for long. The severe cold wave will continue for the next 24 hours," said MeT head Sonam Lotus.

Valley upper reaches and tourist spots like Pahalgam and Gulmarg is reeling under minimum of minus 15 degree Celsius. To fight severe chill, people in Srinagar are lighting up logs beneath hamams, a traditional Kashmiri room floored with special stones which are hollow. The fire heats up the stone and the room consequently.