JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir this winter recorded the highest snowfall in the past 10 years. The recent wave of snowfall paralysed the state as Sringar-Jammu National Highway remained shut for the fourth consecutive day. More than 2,000 vehicles have remained trapped on the highway.
While tourists are happy to roam around in the snow, the local people are facing tough times.
"Our houses are very weak and creak with every step taken. They can't even guard against the rainwater that often gushes into our rooms. There is no electricity and water and the situation will remain the same for the next three to four months," said Om Prakash, a farmer who lives at Chenani on the highway.
Intense snowfall and incessant rain have caused power outage for days together, forcing villagers to grope about in the dark.
"The mornings are still better, as we can carry on with our routine work and go to school. But life just stops in the evenings. We can't study and our education is badly affected owing to the lack of electricity," said Sonia, daughter of Om Prakash.
The state's power requirement is 1,700 megawatt, but it is forced to manage with only half of it. The state's grid stations are overloaded and not ready for more electricity.
"We need 1,700 megawatt for an unrestricted power supply across the state, but with the present infrastructure, we can only transmit 1,100 megawatt. It is our duty to set the things right and we will do that," said Nirmal Singh, Deputy Chief Minister.
But there is some good news. The MET department has said the weather will improve over the next few days and has expressed hope that the highway will open soon, drawing an end to the people's problems.