Editorial: No words, but action needed

Srinagar: The government on Monday yet again said that it is taking all necessary steps to procure power projects from NHPC and transfer them to the state government. The government’s claim resounded in the assembly today with a junior Minister Asiya Naqash telling the members that the issue is being pursued. 

Though the government’s claim about the return of power projects has not been taken seriously by the central government as well as the NHPC, but the government has already announced several measures in the budget-like keeping a provision for funds so as to  meet the operation and maintenance cost of the power projects to be taken over from NHPC.

The government it seems is not sincerely taking up this crucial issue and the statements issued by the government are merely issued to silence the opposition or letting the people to live with hope that someday the power situation in the valley will improve as the NHPC or the central government may transfer some power projects operating in the state- to the state government.

The state no doubt needs some serious planning on the power front. Getting people involved in number game (like measures announced in budget) may not prove to be a wise step. Some concrete measures need to be taken immediately. 

The state 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.

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. The situation is such that even if the state intends to import more power to curtail the crisis here, no proper infrastructure, especially, the specialised transmission lines are available to procure more power.

The state and the Centre has not been able to upgrade the infrastructure of the state in the last 70 years which reflects poorly on the state of affairs in the state.

The Centre must accept the blame and its failure to end the recurring power crisis in the state, so do all the state governments stand answerable before the people on their failure to provide some vibrant and working infrastructure to help sort the power crisis one and for all.

 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.

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