In a rare order, authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Saturday imposed a ban on the sale, possession and use of electric heating appliances, even as the Valley reels under frigid weather conditions following heavy snowfall in the higher sections.
In an order, a copy of which lies with Groundreport.in the DM Ganderbal, who is also the Deputy Commissioner, ordered a ban on the “possession, sale, storage and use of heavy heating appliances like blowers, heaters, radiators, etc to avoid any collateral damages to electric supply.
Ganderbal DM orders blanket ban
In the controversial order, dated November 11, 2022, Ganderbal DM stated that in order to provide a smooth power supply to consumers as well as government offices and hospitals in the Ganderbal district and to prevent unscheduled power outages causing inconvenience to the general public and disruption of services of an emergent nature and particularly patient care, “I, Mr. Shyambir IAS District Magistrate, Ganderbal in the exercise of the powers vested in me under Section 144 CrPC of 1973, I hereby impose a general ban on the storage, sale, possession and use of heavy heating appliances such as blowers, heaters, radiators, etc. within the territorial jurisdiction of Ganderbal district with immediate effect.”
The DM Ganderbal said that in order to provide hassle-free electric supply to consumers as well as government offices and hospitals and to avoid unscheduled power cuts which cause inconvenience to the general public and disruption of services of emergent nature, particularly patient care, a blanket ban has been imposed on these appliances with immediate effect.
The order states that the decision was made to provide a smooth electricity supply to consumers, government offices, and hospitals and to prevent unscheduled power outages that cause inconvenience to the general public and interruption of services of an emergent nature, especially care to the patient.
Any violation of the order will attract punitive action as warranted by relevant laws, he said. The order was criticized by various quarters.
Political leaders react
Sharing a copy of the order on Twitter, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah urged Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to have the “draconian order” withdrawn.
“This is a ridiculous order. How can the administration impose a blanket ban on the sale, usage and even storage of electrical heaters? Is the DC’s heating/cooling AC covered under this Sec 144 ban? Will he have it removed from his office/home? Are people supposed to freeze to death,” Abdullah asked?
“Violation of Sec 144 orders results in an arrest. Is this heartless administration going to arrest parents who want to save their children from freezing to death? Or children who want to protect aged parents from the cold? @OfficeOfLGJandK must have this draconian order withdrawn,” he said.
In a tweet, senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar said, “Dear fellow citizens, this is where Kashmir is in the 5th year of Amrit Kaal. Night temperature is below freezing point and the use of heaters has been criminalised. We have 6 months of snow, rain and frost ahead of us. Are we going to be frozen to death?” National spokesperson of TMC Saket Gokhale termed the order “shocking and inhuman”.
“The DM of Ganderbal (a non-Kashmiri) in J&K has ordered a blanket ban on the use & possession of heaters in homes. The temperature in Ganderbal right now is 10 degrees in the day & 2 degrees at night. Are you running a penal colony, @dcganderbal,” he asked.
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