Finally the weather conditions have started changing in Kashmir. From an unexpectedly long dry spell in winter, the wet spell has now begun to arrive. The beginning has been made with snowfall in upper reaches and rain in several plain areas.
The snowfall is likely to spread to more areas also. The weatherman has predicted the wet spell from January 28 to February 2. It to be seen what will be its impact - which areas are going to experience the snowfall, light, moderate or heavy.
The concerned government departments must be fully in a state of readiness to deal with changing weather conditions. During, or immediately after a major snowfall, the road clearance in the snowbound areas, and restoration of the disrupted power supply are the immediate challenges.
Any delay in such measures affects the normal life and working. Going by winters in past, sometimes the response of the concerned departments is quick after a snowfall and sometimes slow. There is no scope for being slow given the facilities available now in the form of more advanced machinery available for snow clearance.
There is no shortage of manpower also. While clearing major roads, clearing of other roads is also important. The link roads should not remain blocked unnecessarily for days together.
Priority must be also given to roads leading to hospitals and other health facilities so that the healthcare is not affected and patients needing emergency treatment are taken to hospitals well in time.
The disruption in power supply, if any, too must be addressed. Power supply to essential services including hospitals and drinking water plants is crucial. Snowfall is not something new. The only difference this time is that it did not occur till now.
The lack of snowfall had led to several problems including more power shortage and forest fires in some areas. Tourist bookings were also cancelled. Dry spell caused concern as people fear shortage of drinking and irrigation water in summer.
The concerned departments have enough experience in the measures being taken during and after a snowfall. The only thing is that the response must be quick and people should not suffer unnecessarily.