Two days of snowfall has brought down Indian administration on their knees, but Junaid Mattu, the recently appointed Srinagar Mayor and strong supporter of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, brazzened it out on Thursday as local residents continue to suffer and face hardships to resume their normal life.
Ironically, Mattu, an unpopular political turncoat, blamed the officers of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation – the civic body of which he is the Mayor.
Reports from several areas of Srinagar and other districts of Kashmir region suggest that people couldn’t move to their routine work on the third consecutive day as bylanes and roads continue to have snow.
The heavy snowfall once again proved how administration, which the local politicians say is ‘only active on social media’, year after year has failed to upgrade the mechanism and only made hollow promises to the residents in this disputed territory.
Mattu, who has supported India’s unilateral revocation of Kashmir’s special status claiming it was a hindrance in the region’s development, told media that there are 15 JCBs to clear 15,000 lanes.
“It is embarrassing to see the Srinagar Municipal Corporation men clearing snow with shovels,” he said.
Claiming that the response by the three department including Mechanical Engineering department, Roads and Building and SMC could have been better and there is no doubt over it, the former Peoples Conference member, quietly skipped that the weatherman had predicted heavy snowfall days in advance.
He added that had machines been procured, the SMC would have been able to clear the snow within 24 hours across Srinagar. “Srinagar, the face of Jammu and Kashmir has been neglected from last 40 years. But, as long as I am here as Mayor, I will push for systemic reforms in SMC,” he said.
Being the Mayor he is responsible for the procurement of the machines that he claims should have been procured.
It’s interesting to observe how even BJP leaders blamed administration and said they will be filing an Right to Information (RTI) to know the amount drawn from the state exchequer to clear the snow.
Video of locals moving pregnant women amid snow on beds went viral on social media with inhabitants questioning the administration and those who were elected to power under new panchayat raj system – governance in which gram panchayats are the basic units of local administration.
Serval far flung areas still continue to remain cutoff from rest of the valley despite prior warnings by the India’s Meteorological department which predicted heavy snowfall in the Himalayan region.