Srinagar: The winters in Kashmir are getting harsher by the day. Not because of the falling mercury but due to worsening power crisis.
Jammu and Kashmir is not the only place on the earth that has to contend with a long winter. There are many places across the globe where winters are long and frigid. But the governments of those places have put in place effective means in place and do not allow the biting cold and snow to throw life out of gear.
It is appalling that Jammu and Kashmir, which has a potential to generate more than 20000 MW of hydel electricity, suffers for want electricity to light people’s homes in winters.
What has added to the anxiety of the common man are reports that Power Development Department will be unable to mend faulty transfers this year due to a piling backlog. That reflects poorly on the state of affairs in the troubled state.
When the Baghlihar hydel power project, over Chenab, was completed a few years back, it was said the project will help alleviate the grim power crisis in the state, especially, in the winters. The second phase of the project, it was claimed, will reduce the dependence of the state on imports and lower the yearly power bill.
Sadly, nothing of that sort has happened. Instead, an already bad situation has become worse due to lack of proper infrastructure . In such a scenario, the Centre’s decision to allow additional 800 MW of power to the state make no sense.
For additional imports, the state lacks proper infrastructure, especially, the specialised transmission lines. That the state and the Centre has not been able to upgrade the infrastructure of the state in the last 70 years reflects poorly on state of affairs in the state.
The Centre must accept the blame and its failure to end the recurring power crisis in Jammu and Kashmir. The government of the day in the state and at Centre must ensure that the infrastructure of the state is upgraded to handle additional imports so long the state comes up with its own solution to the crisis.
The return of a few hydel power projects to the state was one of the highlights of the Agenda of Alliance between the PDP-BJP government. But the refusal to return hydel power projects to the state by the BJP government has complicated the matters.
The Centre must consider the return of a few project to the state and the state should ensure that enough power is available to Kashmir in winters and Jammu in summers for the common man to live a normal life if it wants to win the hearts and minds of people of Kashmir.