No electricity for one year | Shafat Mir reports from Kashmir

A kerosene lamp sits on the switchboard of the transformer stand in Wandelvangam, Jammu & Kashmir. It is in lieu of the electricity to be provided by the switchboard. 35 families of the area haven’t had any electricity for about eight months now.

“He (the Executive Engineer of the area) gave us this lamp and said, ‘it will charge your mobile phones,’” said a local who has been trying to approach the administration. Community Correspondent Shafat Mir talked to the residents about the problems they’ve faced without electricity.

CALL TO ACTION: You can call the region’s representative Member of Legislative Assembly at 0194-2570225 and ask that the lasting power outage in Wandelvangam be brought to an end.

A short ride away from the famous tourist spot Kokernag, Wandelvangam is a small settlement, housing around 35 families in as many houses. Power-cuts are common in other parts of Kashmir — like the rest of India — but earlier this year the usual flickers of electricity lulled into an uninterrupted blackout. The negligence of the local authorities has been jarring to the residents, who have to walk kilometres to get batteries of their torches charged everyday. Apart from candles, these are the only source of light at night.

The Power Development Department is responsible for transmission and distribution of electricity in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Established in 1995, the department oversees all parts of the state and prioritises them according to requirement. Wandelvangam, however, have been overlooked all through last year.

Political analysts are seeing the high voter turnout — 65 per cent — in the latest assembly elections as a sign of people’s frustration with the government. A change in power seems to be coming, but will that change anything for the darkness-soaked houses of Wandelvangam? One can only hope so.

Meanwhile, you can call the aforementioned number and help CC Shafat to bring light to these people.

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