Two separate government orders on stocking up of LPG cylinders for two months in the Kashmir valley and on vacating of school buildings for the security forces in Ganderbal, adjoining Kargil, has triggered a fresh wave of anxiety among the locals, in the wake of India-China face-off.
Described as a “most urgent matter”, an Adviser to Lt. Governor G.C. Murmu has passed directions in a meeting on June 23, “to ensure sufficient stocks of the LPG in the Valley as the supply gets affected due to closure of the National Highway on account of landslips”.
According to an order passed by the Director of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers, the oil companies should make adequate stocks of LPG that can last up to two months at bottling plants as well as godowns.
It is for the first time that the administration has decided to stock up LPG cylinders at the peak of summer. Usually, such exercises are carried out in October-November when the harsh spell of winter would start in the Kashmir valley and affect the traffic on the highways.
In a separate order, the Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, has requested 16 educational institutes in the district, including ITI buildings, middle and higher secondary schools be vacated. “In view of the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra-2020, these educational centres be made available for accommodation of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) companies,” the order reads.
Such build-up assumes significance as the coming yatra is likely to be a low-key affair due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Besides, Ganderbal is adjoining Kargil in the Union Territory of Ladakh, where India and China are engaged in a face-off over the Line of Actual Control.
The anxiety among the people is palpable. “We hear the jets hovering in the skies on a daily basis for many weeks now. Similar orders were issued in February and August last year. There is a foreboding again in the Valley,” said Nazeer Ahmad, a resident of Hawal.
The degree of anxiety is even higher compared to the two previous episodes witnessed the last year. Ahead of the operation Balakot inside Pakistan in February last year and the revocation of J&K’s special status in August last year, the government issued a slew of similar orders.