Power, water supplies Two basic and essential services are need of hour


Restoration of drinking water and power supplies in the flood ravaged areas Jammu and Kashmir has been delayed inordinately due to inertia of the administration and its agencies, which have been making tall claims about working round the clock for coming to the rescue of the survivors. It is pitiable situation that these two basic essential services, which are needed the most at this hour of crisis, are facing not only neglect but also a careless attention in carrying out their repairs. Both these departments, Public HealthEngineering (PHE) department and Power Development Department (PDD) and their men have been found lagging behind in carrying out urgent repairs so that basic supplies are restored to the people as they are linked to their survival. There may be certain technical obstacles, which may have delayed the repairs and restoration of water supply to many areas in the core of Srinagar city and its adjoining areas, but overall the situation prevailing at present does not paint a rosy picture. Since access to clean water has been a challenging task for the authorities concerned during the days when most areas of Kashmir valley were submerged under flood waters, it is also essential that clean water can prevent many diseases which have been feared to spread epidemics in the flood ravaged valley.

It is paramount concern of all the concerned authorities to pay full and serious attention to this aspect as it is important to prevent diseases caused by consumption of dirty and contaminated water by a large populated in inundated belts of the valley. Despite the fact that majority of the water supply schemes have suffered an extensive damage due to floods as they have either been damaged or totally washed away by the flood waters. It may take some more time for the PHE engineers to carry out reconstruction of totally damaged water supply network, but the supplies can be restored at least in those areas where the supply network is intact and does not need much repairs. Instead of sitting on completing estimates and the funds required for carrying out complete repairs, some stop gap arrangement can be made to supply drinking water to the flood-hit people in the initial stages.

Same is the case with the electricity supply to the flood affected people as they have reeling under unscheduled power curtailment due to damage the supply network due to floods. An extensive devastation has been caused to the PDD infra-structure as many grid lines have given way, transmission stations have been damaged and supply lines along with poles have been uprooted by the unprecedented floods in a century. It may again take many months to carry out complete repairs of the entire network but some arrangement can be worked out to restore supply to certain pockets to provide some succor to the people at this stage. It will not be out of place to mention that a large number of transformers have been transported from Jammu region to Kashmir for replacement of the damaged stations and transformers in many areas. The enormity of the damage caused to both the supply networks has been beyond the conception and imagination of the authorities. Some of the claims of the authorities on this front have been proved hollow as there are still many areas which are witnessing hide and seek by the electricity.

Since, the power back up systems in houses and business establishments besides government offices have also been damaged to a large extent, there is an urgent need to restore power supply at least to carry out repairs on urgent basis. Even after three weeks of flood water receding in most areas of the valley, no repairs have been carried out by the concerned agencies to provide some succor to the people. Still many areas are facing shortage of transformers, which are needed to replace the damaged ones. The authorities need to seek assistance of agencies from outside the state so that supply requirements can be met on emergency basis. It appears that chief minister’s directions to carry out urgent repairs within a stipulated time frame have fallen on deaf ears.