Kashmir Current Affairs - 2020

Railways: First Solar Power and plans to Link J&K with rest of India

On January 9, 2020, Indian Railways announced that it will source 1000 MW of solar power and 200 MW of wind power to zonal railways by 2021-22. Also, Kashmir is to be linked with the rest of India through railway network by December 2021.

Highlights: Solar Power

In order to implement the solar and wind power in Indian Railways, GoI has planned to install 500 MW of solar plants on roof top of Railway buildings to meet non-traction loads. It has also planned to install another 500 MW of land based solar plants whose energy will be used to meet both non-traction and traction load requirements.

The South-Central Railways is the first to actively work on solar based projects. In this Zone, so far 8 stations have been provided with solar panels to meet the power requirements of the station.

Highlights: Kashmir

GoI has announced the new date for the completion of 111-km stretch of railway link project between Katra and Banihal in Kashmir. The project aims at linking Kashmir with the rest of India. The project will be completed by December 2021. Konkan Railways is the implementing agency of the project.

According to Railways, this is the most challenging infrastructure project in its 150-year long history. The bridge, that is part of the project, across Chenab river will be the highest bridge in the world. It will be 359 metres above the river bed.

The link is a part of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link. The project that aims at connecting Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla was announced as a national project in 2002.

Chilai-Kalan: 40-day period of extreme cold begins in Kashmir

The traditional 40-day period of harshest winter in Kashmir known in the local parlance as ‘Chillai-Kalan’ began on 21 December 2019, with the upper reaches of valley receiving snowfall. Chillai-Kalan period which is known for sub-zero temperatures, frozen lakes and river, will end on 31 January 2020.

About ‘Chillai-Kalan’

These 40 days are when the chances of snowfall are highest and the maximum temperature drops considerably. During Chillai-Kalan, the weather in Kashmir valley continues to remain dry and cold with minimum temperatures hovering below freezing point and the snow during this 40-day period freezes and lasts longer.

Even after Chillai-Kalan ends, the cold wave, however, continues even after that. Therefore Chillai-Kalan is followed by  a 20-day-long period called ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) that occurs between January 31 and February 19 and a 10-day-long period ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold) which is from February 20 to March 2.