Extreme cold weather has frozen taps and other forms of water supply in the Kashmir and it has become quite a task for local Kashmiris to get access to water. This season of Chillai Kalan chill has broken the three-decade-old record of lowest temperature as mercury in Srinagar went down to as low as minus 8.4 degree Celsius on Wednesday night.
Negative temperatures have caused water supply lines and storage tanks to completely freeze. Many areas of Srinagar city are without water supply. Many people are taking help of torches to melt the freeze in taps and pipelines.
Sajad Ahmad, a resident of Mehjoor Nagar, tells that they are facing a water crisis for the past two days as the pipes and supplying lines have frozen for the past two days. Storage tank has also frozen and people have to wait till noon for the ice to melt. Batamaloo and Bemina residents are also facing similar problems. People are lighting bonfires to melt the ice inside supply pipes to get water.
Muneem Ahmad, a local resident, said that they have to light a bonfire early morning without any success. People are demanding that the administration should supply potable drinking water through tankers. In north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, women have to walk long distances to fetch water for their families.
Abdul Gaffar, a resident of Pattan, said that only tube wells are working presently. Cattle herders who live at upper reaches have to walk through treacherous terrain to get water. Some of them are melting snow for drinking and washing clothes.
Iftikhar Ahmad Wani, Chief Engineer of Jal Shakti department, assured that all the supply lines across the valley are working as usual. He said that the complained blockade of water could be caused by extreme cold weather which could have resulted in freezing of water. As the temperature improves in the upcoming days, pipelines will start to function. All the water sources are also functioning.
Chillai Kalan refers to 40 day period of extreme winter in Kashmir. It starts from 21 Dec and lasts till January 31 every year.