Kupwara: Started in 1985, 2 MW Karnah Power Project has failed to illuminate the border villages in the district even after the passage of more than three decades. The project suffered heavy damage several times due to natural calamities and despite infusing millions of rupees; the facility is yet to pull out locals from dark ages.
To address the electricity needs of Karnah tehsil in district Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir Government conceived the idea of Karnah Power Project in 80’s and the work on the power generating facility started in 1985. The job was entrusted to Power Development Corporation (PDC) which started raising the project in Pangla Haridal soon after.
After spending crores of rupees, PDC completed first unit of the project in 1991. However the project could not sail smoothly owing to frequent interruptions caused by natural disasters.
Barely a year in operation, a flood devastated the project in September 1992. The plant was back into operation in 1993 and run uninterrupted until it suffered extensive damage on October 8, 2005 in an earthquake that caused widespread devastation in the entire border belt. The canal supplying water to the facility and some machinery was damaged due to the tremors. PDC with the help of NHPC experts managed to restore both the units, which resumed operations on October 28, 2007.
However another calamity was waiting to hit the project again. Floods caused by incessant rains damaged the power station once again on July 30, 2010. After six months of hectic efforts, engineers restored Unit-II on January 5, 2011 and the Unit-I on May 22, 2011. Sources in the project told Kashmri Reader that one unit of the project is generating electricity supplied to Teetwal area while as second unit is defunct. Locals claimed that of late nobody is paying heed to the power crisis in the remaining areas.
Ali Akbar Khan of Karnah said that even the Unit-I of the project is not working properly because of the worn out machinery. “Nobody is paying any heed to our pleas and politicians are only interested in vote bank,” Khan said.
Locals said that second unit of the project is defunct and thus causing huge problems for the residents. “During winters when the entire area is covered by snow and temperatures are sub-zero, we literally live in dark ages due to non-availability of electricity,” they said. “Solar lights distributed by some NGOs and Army too have turned defunct as there are no service centers available in the area,” they added.