SRINAGAR: With extended electricity cuts and Power Development Department not even sticking to its proposed power curtailment schedule in the Valley, traders and businessmen here say they have lost all hopes on government, as they are facing huge economic losses due to electricity shortage.
“The unkind and callous attitude of the state authorities has resulted in extreme electricity crisis in harsh winter. The uninterrupted and affordable electricity is important for economic growth in any part of the world, but in Kashmir instead of moving forward, by every passing year power scenario gets worse so does our economy,” said Kashmir Economic Alliance, Mohammad Yaseen Khan.
He said that it is the complete failure of the state government to provide basic amenities like electricity to the people of Kashmir due to which “our already poor and ailing business, services and education sectors are facing huge problems.”
“Incompetence and mismanagement of the state government has been evident from the fact that with only few inches of snowfall in winters the whole Valley is plunged into darkness and with the government’s darbar move to Jammu, there is no one to listen to Kashmiris and we are left at the mercy of Allah,” said Khan.
He said that government has failed to provide 24 hour power supply in the metered areas which it had promised and even does not stick to its own power curtailment schedule announced in November last year.
“The frequent and extended power cuts during the day lead our industry and service sector at stand still bringing huge economic loss. The power curtailment schedule released by power department last year has been a crude joke,” said Khan.
He said that the people of Kashmir particularly traders and businessmen pay electricity charges for non existing supply with authorities not showing any respect to consumer needs and requirements.
“This is a deliberate move by the government to make Kashmiris economically weak and dependent, otherwise there are no such power curtailments in Jammu division. This is done even when we pay more electricity tariff and other taxes towards the government,” said Khan.
He said that KEA, as a representative of business community in the Valley, took this electricity issue before the authorities several times, but with no substantial response from the government every time “we have lost all the hopes from the government,” said Khan.
He said that if the situation continues, traders will come on roads to launch agitation against the government’s scant response to wards the people of Kashmir.
President, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, Bashir Ahmad Dar said that the industry sector is the biggest hit in Valley due to worse power scenario as they are largely dependent on it.
“Manufacturing industry is already in shambles here due to various reasons but the problem gets augmented due to scant electricity supply on which our whole industry depends. In winters the manufacturing capacity of the Valley gets halved due to long power curtailments,” said Dar.
He said that they have also lost hope on state government for doing anything in improving the power scenario.
“It is only government’s non seriousness towards the issue. Otherwise it is not a big thing. Kashmir is electricity producing zone and having power crisis in the region shows failure of the government only,” said Dar.
He said that if government does not listen to the traders and business class, they will come on roads to launch agitation against the government.
President Lal Chowk Market Association, Farooq Ahmad Shah said that manufacturing and industrial sector apart the small business holders and shopkeepers have to face problems due to scarcity of electricity as they have to use LPG for lighting and heating purposes during the day.
“We tired to put our pleas before government many times but now don’t pin our hopes on government anymore,” said Shah.