The snowfall began on January 3 in Srinagar. Within a day, the city lanes were clogged with more than two feet of snow, making it difficult for people to venture out except during emergencies.
Abdul Qayoom Khan, watching the snow from his house in Miskeen Bagh, grew nervous. For Covid-19, his sister-in-law had tested positive and was on oxygen support. The oxygen cylinder she’d been attached to was running dry. A substitute was required.
It was all blocked and the streets were covered with snow,” recalled the 58-year-old businessman.” “On foot, my nephew went out. He managed to get an oxygen cylinder from somewhere for his mother after several hours.
But the family wasn’t able to stop worrying. Khan said, “We were worried about how we would take her to the hospital if her condition worsened.” “Because of the unclean snow, the ambulance could not have entered our lane.”
On January 5, when no one from the municipal corporation turned up to clear the snow, Khan picked up shovels with his son and neighbours and spent five hours clearing an 80-meter stretch. “He recalled, “The snow had frozen and it was very hard to crack it. The eight men were able to clear a narrow road, barely enough to walk on for a single person.
Khan said, “I’m a kidney transplant patient, but I even picked up a shovel to help out.” “We didn’t have an alternative.”
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir’s capital, is home to over a million people. Yet it does not have a single snow clearance machine for its municipal corporation.