Six days since heavy snowfall threw life out of gear in the Valley, electricity supply in North Kashmir districts continues to be affected. Meanwhile, preliminary assessment by J&K’s horticulture department has shown that Kashmir’s fruit industry has been hit, with snowfall damaging 35 per cent of the orchards.
Lt Governor G C Murmu held a review meeting in Jammu on Monday regarding the situation, but has not visited the Valley since the snowfall — which occurred on November 6-7.
On Tuesday evening, Power Development Department officials in Srinagar said that power supply has been restored in North Kashmir. “As we speak, we have restored electricity in North Kashmir,” Hashmat Qazi, Chief Engineer (Kashmir) of the department, told The Indian Express. He said the snowfall had damaged 4,000-5,000 electricity poles and the department has replaced 2,500 poles so far.
On November 5, the meteorological department issued an advisory that an active western disturbance from November 6-8 was likely to cause widespread to moderate snowfall. However, there were allegations that the government machinery was missing on the ground on the first day of snowfall, and that fallen trees were yet to be removed from roads.
“Last year we saw similar snowfall, but there was immediate restoration of power and clearance of snow from roads. This time it is worse,” said Naasir Khan, senior vice-president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said that in view of restrictions on communication, it was the government’s responsibility to effectively alert people about weather conditions.
Speaking about the effects of the snowfall on the fruit industry, Horticulture Kashmir Director Ajaz Ahmad Bhat told The Indian Express, “As per preliminary and tentative figures, 35 per cent of the orchards in Kashmir have suffered damage.” He added that Shopian, Baramulla and Kulgam were the worst hit.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Choudhary tweeted, “Farmers have suffered massive losses. Preliminary survey done on November 7. We reached out to every village and farm saffron major casualty- nearly 70 percent. Inter department teams making assessment. Every loss will be compensated. Disappointed to visit some farms today.”