In a rare move, District Magistrate Ganderbal, Shaymbir Singh, on Saturday imposed a blanket ban on the sale, storage and use of electric heating appliances in the district at a time when the harsh spell of winter has arrived in the Kashmir Valley. Night temperature drops to below zero.
“In exercise of the powers conferred on us by Section 144 CrPC of 1973, I hereby impose a blanket ban on the storage, sale, possession and use of heavy heating appliances such as blowers, heaters, radiators etc. Ganderbal with immediate effect” , read the order.
Traditionally, blowers, heaters and radiators were the only source of heating in most homes in Kashmir during the winter season, which is prone to heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.
“…to avoid any collateral damage to the electrical supply (transmission lines/transformers) due to heavy load on transmission system through the use of heavy heating devices which are not permissible and whereas it has been found that the improper use of electrical devices like Blowers, heaters, radiators etc.
It said that by using these electrical appliances, there is all the fear of the short circuits, which ultimately results in fire incidents and loss of property and life.
“To provide comprehensive free electricity supply to the consumers and government offices and hospitals of district Ganderbal and to avoid unscheduled power cuts, thereby causing inconvenience to the general public and interruption of services of emergent nature and especially patient care, said Mr. Shyambir imposes a blanket ban,” read the order.
In another order issued in Chenab Valley’s Doda district, the local District Magistrate (DM) has set regulations on the sale and purchase of heating appliances. “Valid electricity connection and paid current electricity bills are a must for the purchase of heating appliances,” reads the DM’s order.
The move drew criticism from regional parties.
“This is where Kashmir is in the fifth year of Amrit Kaal. Night temperature is below freezing and the use of heaters is criminalized. We have six months of snow, rain and frost ahead of us. Are we going to freeze to death?” said former Cabinet Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Naeem Akhtar.
National Conference (NC) spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar termed the move as “another shocker”. “Can the same bureaucracy issue a similar order in other parts of the country where the temperature touches 40⁰ Celsius, asking people not to use ACs or fans?” asked the NC spokesperson.