State lacking in transmission infrastructure
SRINAGAR: Even if the Jammu and Kashmir government purchases the additional electricity required to meet its demand in the state, the Valley will continue to reel under darkness as the region does not have the transmission infrastructure to fetch power from Indian states, engineers of the Power Development Department (PDD) told Power Minister Nirmal Singh at a high-level meeting here on Wednesday.
Sources privy to the meeting told Kashmir Reader that the engineers told the minister that power cuts cannot be done away with simply by purchasing additional electricity. They said the minister was also informed that defunct transformers cannot be made functional in 24 hours and that it would take at least four days.
“The minister asked us to eliminate the power cuts issue in the Valley. We told him the infrastructure meant for transmission to receive additional power is not in place,” sources said. “When he asked the reason, we told him the delay was because people at many places did not allow towers to come up, compensation was not paid to people whose land was used to get into it. We also told him that the government was maintaining laxity in releasing funds.”
To which, sources said, the minster directed the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, the Inspector General of Police and the Chief Secretary, Power, to eliminate the departmental hiccups.
“We also told him that due to under-staffing problems, the department cannot make the defunct transformers functional in 24 hours. It will take at least four days,” the sources said.
The Sources said the minister also directed chief engineers to send staff on the ground to arrest power pilferages as these can augment power need to a large extent.
A top engineer told Kashmir Reader that the Valley’s peak power demand in winter is 1,700 megawatts, but it can afford only 1,200 MW from all its resources. The Government of India (GoI) had offered additional power, however the state lacks the infrastructure that can fetch it.
At present, metered areas face electricity cuts for three hours each day, while unmetered areas will face six-hour power cuts. However the cuts are beyond the schedule.
Reasons for power cuts are mainly due to losses from the poor infrastructure that transmits and distributes it to households and also from pilferage. In Kashmir, the PDD has a consumer base of over 7.4 lakh households and a load agreement of around 650 MW for the evening hours. The GoI has started a number of schemes to arrest losses. However, the projects have not been completed.