Valley of Darkness

Valley of Darkness
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As winter casts its long shadow on Kashmir, the blighted valley is bereft of requisite electricity. Not an isolated or one off phenomenon, it is , in fact, a recurrent and recurring theme for Kashmir. Successive administrations promise the moon regarding electricity /power in and for Kashmir, but these turn out to be as hollow as their political rhetoric. The excuses trotted out by administrations are the usual: demand, sully gap(s), especially in winter for Kashmir, Transmission and Distribution losses(T & D losses), and other related issues like non payment of electricity bills by some. The prosaic fact is that the electricity issues in Kashmir are eminently remediable and the bane of poor electricity provision, the brunt of which is borne by Kashmiris , falls on the door of the administrations. If one catch word could describe this, it would be “ bad governance”- overlaid by apathy. Most of the power generated within Kashmir, or the region of Jammu and Kashmir, broadly speaking, is hydro power which is river fed. The level and hence flow of rivers, during winter, subsides significantly, and thus effects the generation and provision of electricity. This is common sensical and obvious. But, in this day and age, it is eminently remediable. One obvious measure that strikes the mind is constructing environment friendly coal powered mega stations that could even out the demand , supply mismatch. But, nay, the administrations, for bizarre reasons, do not countenance this idea. The other measures could include efficient and improved project management in the construction and development of power projects. Many power projects that have been conceived in the past remain prisoner to shoddy and even corrupt project management thus negatively impinging upon the power condition of Kashmir. In the final analysis, the problem emanates from producers; not consumers but the burden is borne by consumers- especially during harsh winters of Kashmir. More importantly, the administrations’ craven attitude and approach towards powers that be in terms of being major producers of power is also a thematic area of concern and worry. A case in point is the abdication of responsibility by handing out mega projects to outsiders. Power woes are eminently resolvable and remediable but it is, in the main, the apathy and lackadaisical attitude of administrations that aggravates the problem. It is about time that, in the least, that people wake up to this gargantuan problem , dust off apathy and create conditions where Kashmir’s power problems are not only resolved but the region becomes an exporter of power.

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