Srinagar: The Power Development Department (PDD) has shelved a project for electricity conservation, funds for which were given to it by the governemnt of India’s power ministry in 2013. The funds were meant for manufacture and development of efficient water boiling rods that were to be distributed among people, and for street lighting to be replaced by LED lamps.
The State Energy Conservation Fund (SECF), which was set up under the J&K Energy Conservation Act 2011, received Rs 121 lakh from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a unit of the Ministry for Power, Government of India, for this. PDD was selected as the State Designated Agency (SDA), the implementing body, by the BEE to carry out different energy conservation works in J&K.
As per an official document, Rs 70 lakh were allocated for the “manufacture & distribution of thermostat built-in emersion rods” as an alternate to the crude water boilers that consume high amounts of electricity and which a large number of people in Kashmir use in winter to heat up water.
“… (Rs) 30 lakhs for conversion of conventional street lights into LED street lights, (Rs) 15 lakhs for manpower support to SDA of J&K and remaining (Rs) 6.79 lakhs for workshops/capacity building of the SDA of J&K,” the official document reads.
A senior PDD official said that the manufacture and distribution of thermostat built-in emersion rods saw no headway and the project was later shelved by officials.
The official told Kashmir Reader that the distribution of such rods was not possible as the PDD could not procure ISI-certified ones, a quality-standard rule for procurement in the department.
“When the department could not find any ISI-certified emersion rods’ supplier anywhere in India, the plan was dropped. No one bothered about the alternatives that the department could have worked on for utilisation of allocated funds,” he said.
A portion of the funds was spent on manufacture and distribution of LED lamps, the official said, but not a penny on an efficient emersion rod, which could have saved about 35 percent of electricity than the common emersion rods.
“Unlike crude-boilers that continue for hours even after the water is boiling at super-heated temperatures, thermostat rods operate for just a couple of hours and boil water very quickly,” he said.
Though the department failed to implement the plan, the government ordered a blanket ban on sale, purchase and transportation of crude boilers and microme coils in an effort to avoid “damage done by these devices” to electric transformers.
Chief Engineer PDD, Shahnaz Goni, told Kashmir Reader that she has little knowledge about the issue.
“I have just heard that such was the plan, but it couldn’t be completed due to some reasons,” she said.
Asked about the distribution of emersion rods among people, she said it was a matter of government policy and her department would welcome if such a step is taken for conservation of electricity.