Srinagar: As the first of the 40-day long period of harsh winter cold ‘Chillai Kalan’ in Kashmir will commence on December 21 (Wednesday), as it does every year on the same date, the residents and the district administrations across the Valley are bracing up for the bone chilling cold days.
Iced water bodies including waterfalls, lakes and streams; frozen water pipes, hanging icicles and bone chilling cold cautioned the people of Kashmir to brace for colder weather ahead.
The very period of cold winter days brings a lot of hardships for the people. The 40-day long Chillai Kalan ends on January 31 each year.
Higher are the chances of light to heavy snow fall in majority of the parts of Kashmir in these days, and valley remains in the grip of severe cold wave with the minimum temperature settling several degrees below the freezing point.
Meanwhile, the Metrological Department Kashmir has said that the arrival of Chillai Kalan on dry note, however there are chances of western disturbances in parts of Kashmir on December 26.
On the onset of Chillai Kalan, the concerned Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Divisional Commissioner take stock of essentials and overall winter preparedness in the Valley.
Power and water supply position, availability of ration, fuel, LPG and other essentials, besides measures taken for snow clearance are being taken care of prior to start this 40-day long period.
In this regard, on December 9, in order to gear up the District Administration and machinery to deal winter challenges, DC Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad chaired a meeting of all District/Sectoral Officers.
People across the Kashmir Valley keep on having proper heating arrangements, food and other basic needs certain on the onset of Chillai Kalan. However, in several districts of Kashmir division, Authorities have issued an order imposing a ‘blanket ban’ on the sale, storage and use of electric appliances meant for heating causing a furore in the region following which the authorities issued a reorder revoking it.
Though the Authorities have claimed that the move has been made to provide a hassle-free electric supply to consumers as well as government offices and hospitals and to avoid unscheduled power cuts which causes inconvenience to the general public and disruption of services of emergent nature and particularly patient-care. Later outrage from the people and the politicians, the Authorities took back the order.
People seem not to be wholly relying on electricity, power equipments in this 40-day period amid unscheduled and excessive power cuts in winter, the earthen firepot (Kangri) lit with charcoal and woven in willow wicker remains the best bet for Kashmiris to brave the cold of the Chillai Kalan.
Traditional ‘Bukhari’ usually made of a sheet metal cylindrical hollow space where wood is burnt to heat the room, is another main cold beater in Chillai Kalan that could be seen lit in every household across Kashmir.