LPG Shortage Hits Kashmir As Snowfall Continues

LPG Shortage Hits Kashmir As Snowfall Continues

16 January 2012
The Economic Times


Srinagar: As moderate to heavy snowfall continued in the Kashmir Valley for the second consecutive day on Monday, locals and tourists are now complaining about the scarcity of essential commodities. 'A cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) which normally costs Rs. 450, after the present snowfall is being sold at Rs.750 in the black-market. Kerosene has also disappeared from the retail outlets as it is being sold in the black-market at Rs.25 per litre', complained Manzoor Ahmad, a Srinagar resident. Before the fresh snowfall, the authorities had claimed that enough stocks of LPG cylinders were available in the valley to ward off any crisis caused by the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Surprisingly, the state government today started rationing of LPG cylinders by issuing instructions to gas companies that they should supply LPG cylinders filled with just five kg of gas (instead of the normal 14 kg) till the LPG supplies are restored after the Jammu-Srinagar highway is reopened. The highway remained closed for the second day Monday and the traffic on it has remained highly erratic and mismanaged during the last fortnight. Some tourists, who had come here to enjoy the snowfall, are now requesting the authorities to arrange their departure from the valley. 'We planned to leave the valley Sunday, but all flights got cancelled because of the bad weather. The airline authorities returned our money. We wanted to leave through the Srinagar-Jammu highway, but that is also at present closed,' said Pannaben, who has come here from Rajkot in Gujarat with her family. The only saving grace for the people of the valley during this spell of snowfall is the steady supply of electric power. 'The power development department has done a good job. Areas snowbound with over four feet of thick snow are also getting the scheduled electric supply this time,' said Engineer Rashid, the legislator from north Kashmir's Langate assembly constituency. Muhammad Muzaffar Mattu, chief engineer (Electric Maintenance) Kashmir, said: 'Our field staff is deployed round the clock to ensure that all areas get scheduled electric power supply in the valley.'