RAYEES AHMAD KUMAR
As the valley enters the heart of Chillaikalan, an unusual phenomenon unfolds – a snowless landscape after decades of customary winter charm. The absence of snow, typically a thick blanket covering the valley, is causing concern among those dependent on tourism and agriculture.
In contrast to the iconic snow-clad mountains that attract global skiers and skaters, the valley is experiencing warm, sunny days during what is traditionally the harshest period. The lack of snow disrupts not only the scenic beauty but also affects the livelihoods of those associated with winter tourism and agriculture.
The picturesque scenes of hanging icicles and frosty mornings, once synonymous with Chillaikalan, are missing this year. In the past, heavy snowfall would transform the landscape, inviting tourists and captivating the valley’s youth in winter games. Now, the absence of snow has shifted children’s focus to traditional outdoor games like cricket.
Beyond the impact on tourism, the valley’s fruit industry faces a serious threat. The combination of no snow and erratic weather conditions poses a significant risk to agricultural productivity, with concerns extending to the shortage of drinking water.
The absence of snow, attributed by climatologists to climate change and global warming, has led to an atypical dry spell. The usual winter activities, including skiing and skating, have seen a decline due to the prolonged dry weather.
To address the grim situation, communities across the valley are organizing prayers and traditional feasts like Sas-Ras, seeking divine intervention to break the dry spell. The city’s famous markets are joining in, distributing dishes to passersby as part of the centuries-old tradition to counter the prolonged dry weather.
The water scarcity is visible, affecting rivers, streams, and even tubewells. The iconic Shikara and houseboats of Srinagar, once afloat on abundant waters, now rest on dry, muddy surfaces.As the valley grapples with health issues arising from the unusual weather, the hope for an urgent heavy snowfall intensifies. Residents express concerns about potential disastrous impacts in the coming season, emphasizing the necessity of snow for agricultural productivity and overall well-being.
The entire valley awaits the transformative power of snowflakes, hoping for a revival of plants and soil, and the return of the enchanting winter scenes that define life in this region.
(Note:- RAYEES AHMAD KUMARWriter is a columnist hailing from Qazigund Kashmir)