SRINAGAR: The solar energy equipment dealers of the Valley are aghast over the decision of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, GoI and its perusal by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank for bypassing the local dealers and directly involving manufacturers and issuing bills in their favor in a scheme of installation of solar power devices.
The J&K Bank according to dealers was implementing a scheme of MNRE, which is headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah and run by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) having a subsidy component of 40 percent with bank providing loans to enable people to install solar power devices.
Mir Muzaffar Hussain, president of newly formed J&K Solar Energy Association (JKSEA) told Kashmir Reader that the decision will harm the dealers here and will snatch unemployment of number of youth that have been engaged in this sector.
With dealers saying that the move is certainly aimed at creating ground for outside companies to earn directly, saying that J&K Bank instead of opposing such a proposal is on pushing this move.
One of the top dealers who has been in this sector since long, but did not want to be named said that with a monthly business of Rs 25 crore in solar lighting prodcuts, J&K Bank should have acted as a guardian of business interests of the valley dealers, “but we are apprehending that on the contrary it is pushing forward with this move, even though in other states there is no such proposal in vogue or to be implemented”.
“ It was we who recommended that J&K Bank be inclusive of this scheme, and the scheme ran very well for some time mostly in district Budgam initiating their business through solar lighting scheme,” he said lamenting the fact that they are today at the receiving end because of the bank.
Mir said that the bank has been critical of the role of local dealers providing unsatisfactory equipment to the consumers, but said that the equipment provided by all the dealers is MNRE approved.
He said that this notion of the bank is based on a wrong assessment as the dealers who sell their products have got them approved by the MNRE.
One of the dealers told Kashmir Reader that it was with great effort that the dealers who wanted to make energy deficient Kashmir energy rich by introducing renewable energy products are now being robbed of their livelihood in connivance with J&K Bank.
Hussain said that they have taken up this issue with bank officials and have even appealed Farooq Abdullah to personally intervene to save the employment of the local youth, besides business interests of the dealers and others down the line.