SRINAGAR: Not ready to accept the tag of “cheats”, the civil society of Kashmir on Sunday dissected the official records to illustrate how legislators and the government have been manipulating figures to suggest that Jammu consumes less power and pays more tariff.
Replying to the query from Panthers Party MLA Harsh Dev Singh during the ongoing session of the Assembly, the government had stated that as compared to Kashmir, Jammu consumes less power and pays more tariff. It stated the Kashmir region consumed 6854.94 MUs of power while Jammu region consumed 5252.72 MUs during 2012-13, while the tariff realised from the two regions was Rs 1005.29 crore and Rs 691.87 crore respectively.
However, the Kashmir Centre for Social and Developmental Studies (KCSDS) contested the government’s response with detailed figures presented during a press conference here.
According to the KCSDS, Jammu has 608695 domestic consumers consuming 570.93 MWs against a tariff of Rs 13872.53 lakh. In comparison, Kashmir has 703692 domestic consumers consuming 569.49 MWs against a tariff of Rs 20714.37 lakh.
“These are the official figures up to December 2013, and it shows that while the load consumed by domestic consumers in Kashmir is almost equivalent to that of Jammu, yet Kashmiris pay Rs 6841.84 lakh more as tariff. Also, Jammu has 287766 unregistered domestic consumers while Kashmir only has 156088 illegal consumers,” Shakeel Qalander of KCSDS said.
The figures of last six years reveal that average tariff paid by domestic consumers in Kashmir is more than that of their counterparts from Jammu. So far this year, for instance, average revenue realised from domestic consumers in Kashmir is Rs 3028.20 while that of the domestic consumers from Jammu is Rs 2279.06.
In commercial sector, Jammu has 85795 consumers consuming 136.26 MWs of electricity against a tariff of Rs 7730.52 lakh, and in Kashmir 85003 commercial consumers use 123.94 MWs of electricity against Rs 7358.44 lakh tariff.
“In commercial sector also, tariff paid by consumers in Jammu and in Kashmir regions is almost same despite the fact that former has long business hours while the business ends at dusk in latter,” Qalander said.
As per the KCSDS figures, Jammu is provided 410.79 MWs of electricity for 9681 industrial units that pay a tariff of Rs 22633.97 lakh. And in Kashmir, 10402 industrial units are provided 150.15 MWs of electricity against Rs 7219.96 lakh.
“The revenue realised from the industrial units in Jammu shall actually be more considering that they operate in double shifts compared to industrial units in Kashmir. Also, the government or legislators has never tried to highlight how more industrial units in Kashmir are provided less power,” Qalander said.
The government, he said, is manipulating figures so as to conceal the facts and present a selective perception about Kashmiris.
“The legislators in association with the bureaucrats are trying to divide the society on regional lines. But we have faced a lot in past 25 years, we will not accept this tag of cheats now,” he said.
KCSDS lambasted the state government for failing to bring in reforms in power sector to reduce the losses, and over its failure to take into account of the presence of the forces.
“Around 150 MW of the electricity provided to Kashmir is consumed by the security agencies; all bunkers get electricity through hooking; and a large chunk of power goes to the forces deployed on the Line of Control. Ironically, forces don’t pay a penny to the state. This is loot of our resources,” said Abdul Majid Zargar.
KCSDS also sought probe into the loss of revenue and documents related to the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd (NHPC)-managed power projects.
“In past 15 years, NHPC has provided the state less power worth Rs 2350 crore. It has illegally diverted the power from Kishanpur to Dul-Hasti. Besides, the documents of agreement between NHPC and state government is also missing. All these things shall be probed,” said Dr Javed Iqbal.