As Mercury Continues to Dip and Dal Lake Freezes in Kashmir, Houseboat Owners Lose Their Livelihoods
Kashmir experiences one of the harshest winter seasons this year. Although the “Chillai Kalan” (40 days of intense cold) has ended, the difficulties are not over yet, as the India Meteorological Department has predicted more snow in Feb.
A large part of the famous Dal lake and other water bodies are frozen. The water supply lines in several parts of the Valley are also hit. People are facing extreme conditions as the icy winds continue to blow through the region.
Living around the Dal lake and the Jehlum river, the already affected houseboat owners, who survive on tourism, face severe problems as their houseboats sink due to snow.
The tourism industry of Kashmir collapsed after Aug. 5, 2019, when the Indian government stripped the region of its autonomy and statehood. Tourists from around the world stopped visiting Kashmir.
Due to snowfall, a houseboat on the banks of the river Jhelum, recently collapsed in Srinagar, leaving a family of seven in a tent as they don’t have any place to go. They couldn’t repair the houseboat due to the government’s ban on houseboats’ renovation in Kashmir.