PDP takes to the Streets as Kashmir Faces Unprecedented Power CrisisNovember 24, 2023
In a strong show of dissent, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) organized a protest in Srinagar on November 23 to address the escalating power crisis that has plunged Kashmir into darkness. Despite their peaceful intentions, scores of PDP leaders and workers were prevented from marching out of the party’s Srinagar office by the police.
Brandishing placards bearing messages such as ‘Stop Unscheduled Power Cuts’ and ‘End Darkness in Kashmir,’ the protestors voiced their frustrations through slogans condemning the power shortage. PDP leaders, speaking to the media, expressed deep concern about the gravity of the situation, asserting that Kashmir has never witnessed such a dire power crisis before.
According to the PDP, the health, education, and business sectors in the region have borne the brunt of the power scarcity. They argued that the power crisis in Kashmir has reached a critical juncture, subjecting citizens to prolonged blackouts and severe hardships. The party leaders laid blame on the perceived incompetence of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, accusing them of failing to address the crisis effectively. Promises of 24/7 power supply through smart meters were labeled as nothing more than a facade, concealing the harsh reality of increased tariffs and prolonged darkness.
Asiya Naqash, a former minister participating in the protest, expressed disappointment in the government’s handling of the crisis. She criticized the administration for exploiting the situation and exacerbating the citizens’ woes, stating, “The promises made by the administration about smart meters were meant to bring relief, not exacerbate the woes of the people.”
Iqbal Tramboo, a representative of the PDP, emphasized the severity of the crisis, stating that in the past seven decades, Kashmir had never experienced such a dire situation. He alleged that the administration was punishing the people for opposing the ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Tramboo claimed that citizens were not only being deprived of power but also of basic necessities like water and ration supply.
Rouf Bhat, an additional spokesperson for the PDP, went further, characterizing the power crisis as a humanitarian crisis. He accused the administration of inflicting grave injustice upon the people of Kashmir, citing the adverse impact on the health sector, education, and industries. Bhat asserted that due to the unavailability of power and heating arrangements, children and the elderly were succumbing to various diseases.
PDP leaders argued that earlier assurances from the administration regarding the installation of smart meters to alleviate power issues and ensure uninterrupted supply had proven empty. The protest, therefore, stands as a collective demand from the people of Kashmir for the restoration of power supply and an end to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region.