Power woes: No end in sight despite Centre acting generous

 

Srinagar: The power woes of the people are unlikely to end in Kashmir even as the winter has tightened its grip across the Valley.

Despite Government of India allocating an additional power supply to Jammu and Kashmir, the power woes in Valley are unlikely to end.

Notably, the Government of India on Thursday announced the allocation of additional power of 792 MW for the state, with a view that the move will bring some relief to the miseries people face during the bone-chilling winters.

However, as per the officials of the Power Development Department (PDD), the Union governments move will not help in easing out the situation here.

A senior official of the department, wishing anonymity said that the additional allocation would hardly improve the scenario-courtesy lack of infrastructure to utilize the extra allocated supply.

“We cannot expect a lot of improvement and the power curtailment schedule which is in practice is unlikely to change,” the official said.

“We don’t have the required infrastructure in terms of grid stations, wires, transformers, etc to support the additional supply,” he said.

The assertion by the senior official has put the focus back on the lack of infrastructure in the state rather than the non-availability of power.

Another official of the PDD, who too wished not to be named said that the power Ministry in the state had foiled all the proposals that were sent for execution so that the power infrastructure is improved in the state.

“Presently the system in place is leading to highest percentage of loses in transmission and distribution. This is owing to the fact that we do not have the support system to procure more power from the northern grid,” the official added.

He attributed the failure to the ‘babus’ in the secretariat who failed to clear a 600 Cr project that would have ensured improving the distribution network.  

Power ministry on the other hand has assured of extra supply if the need arises.

“If the state requires more power, the Government of India will consider allocating additional power to the state,” a power ministry handout issued through the PIB said.

Interestingly, with the Darbar Move shifting to Jammu on 27 October last month, the Power Development Department (PDD) had issued a new power curtailment schedule which has since been in practice.

As per the schedule issued by PDD, there is a twenty one- hour power cut in metered areas during a week and forty two- hour cut in non-metered areas. However, the curtailments have run more that what was announced, both in metered and non-metered areas.

Pertinently, the power requirement in the state is met from generation from its own power plants, allocated share from central generating stations and power purchased from the market.

At present, around 70 per cent of the energy requirement is being met from central generating stations in the state.

The peak demand of state during the current year (April to October, 2017) was 2,768 MW and the demand met was 2,214 MW, thus, leaving a shortfall of around 554 MW (i.e. 20 per cent).

The energy demand of Jammu and Kashmir has gradually increased over the last five years at an annual rate of about 5% to 6%.

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