Govt hasn’t paid bills for 3 years, owes Rs 19 crore now
Anantnag: While people suffer helplessly the absence of electricity, the government is not even bothered for the repair of faulty transformers, as many as 350 of which are lying defunct because the government has not paid for their repair.
The Power Development Department (PDD) had roped in about 40 workshops, which are officially classified as small-scale industrial units (SSIs), to carry out the repair of transformers. These units were in addition to the PDD’s own workshops, which were unable to handle the workload by themselves.
The PDD now owes more than Rs 19 crore to these units in unpaid bills. The lack of payment has forced the unit owners to stop work, which has put extra burden on the PDD-run workshops.
Insiders in the power department say that not even during the turbulent ‘90s, when manpower and machinery were in shortest supply, was the situation so bad in power transmission.
Sources in the department told Kashmir Reader that the PDD-run workshops do not have the capacity to repair such a large number of transformers.
“Just Kulgam district in south Kashmir has 50 to 60 defunct transformers, which means that as many localities are in complete darkness,” PDD sources said.
A PDD official in Kulgam district said that despite working overtime and assigning more manpower to the task, there seems to be no solution to the problem.
“We, at our workshop here, fix around 7 transformers a week and get another 5 fixed from the central workshop, which means 12 transformers repaired in a week. But we get more than 40 transformers in a week’s time,” the official said.
The SSI workshop owners that Kashmir Reader talked to said that the ‘liability’ of the government has been pending for over 3 years now.
“We have not been paid for three years . The government has a liability of 1.2 Crore rupees just towards my unit,” a workshop owner said, requesting that he not be named.
He said that his unit stopped working in May this year but resumed work for the month of Ramazan on request of senior PDD officials, who assured that the liability will be cleared soon.
“But in July, when no money was released, we stopped work again and have not worked ever since,” he said.
Kashmir Reader tried to contact tbe Minister for Power Development, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, but the attempts proved futile.
Commissioner Secretary to the government for PDD, Hirdesh Kumar, was in Delhi and could not be reached for his comments.
Chief Engineer of PDD, Shehnaz Goni, said that the issue has been taken up with government authorities and will be sorted out soon.
“I am told that the liability of the SSIs will be cleared in the next week. I hope they start working again soon,” Goni said.