SRINAGAR, Jan 29: In snow-bound Shopian district of South Kashmir, scores of shopkeepers have been forced to close their shops after unplanned snow clearance of roads left them with piles of unattended snow in front of their shops thereby blocking their entrances.
The shopkeepers of Shopian said today that in morning they were surprised to see their shops shrouded under snow and alleged that the concerned authorities failure to lift the snow has forced many to shut their shops.
“I could not find my shop this morning. It was shrouded in the snow. It took me almost 2-3 hours to make a way for myself. I opened the shop but the view of the shop is still blocked with snow,” said Ghulam Mohammad, a textile shop owner at Shopian town.
He said that there were already 3-4 feet snow accumulated on the shop fronts which doubled after dumping of snow cleared from roads. “Without waiting for the officials, I took the shovel and cleared half of the snow but everyone was not able to do that which forced them to close their shops,” Ghulam Mohammad added.
Ghulam Nabi Turray, president of Traders Federation Shopian, said the shopkeepers were left with no choice but to close their shops. He further said: “this is not the problem of shopkeepers alone but the authorities failure to clear the snow from the lanes and by-lanes of Shopian has crippled the movement of residents”.
“Children cannot go to tuitions as it’s difficult to walk over snow-clad streets. It has also affected the commuters as private vehicle operators are unable to venture out of their homes. The snow clearance machines are big and wide and cannot move into the interiors of the town. The SMC issues tender worth lakhs of rupees to private contractors to clear the snow but resist to buy own machines. All is done to mint money without even delivering the services,” the president added.
Chief Executive Officer, Municipal Corporation Shopian, Bashir Ahmad, when contacted said: “I admit the shopkeepers are having tough time due to piled up snow. The snow clearance was done on ‘war footing’ basis and priority is to clear the main connecting links. This was what we always do but the heavy snowfall is causing problems. Keeping in view the problems which shopkeepers are facing the district administration has already directed R& B officials to lift the snow from the shop fronts.”
Asked why they have failed to clear lanes and by-lanes of the entire town, he said: “We have cleared the streets time and again but the snow coming from the roof tops is causing problems in these narrow lanes and within few days we will clear that as well.”