TRAL: In what could be an embarrassment for the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department (PDD), the department has been sending power bills to a family residing in a habitation that is yet to get electricity.
Mohammad Yousuf Khan, a resident of Wuzul Kulnar village of Tral area, has been billed a whopping Rs 47,000 as power charges, although his village is without electricity.
Yousuf alleged that the PDD employees who dispatch power bills have never taken notice of the matter and have continued issuing bills till date.
“It is ironic that no one has taken notice and no verification has been launched in this regard,” said Mohammad Yousuf, adding that the bills were always dispatched to him.
Village residents told Kashmir Reader that they have been lighting their houses with solar lamps and a traditional wood called laesh, a type of inflammable wood.
In these days of information technology and knowledge, this village is constrained to lag behind due to its not being connected to the electricity grid. To charge their mobile phones, the villagers said, they have to pay Rs 10 to the owner of a generator in Tral town.
“To charge the battery of mobile phones, we have to travel four kilometres on foot and then 10 kilometres by public transport to reach the town and charge our mobile phones,” said Nazir Ahmad, a resident of Wuzul Kulnar.
Other residents told Kashmir Reader that due to the lack of electricity in the village, most children here could not read after 10th class.
“In this era of education, there are only three graduates in our villages, and those who have passed 12th can also be counted on fingers,” said Nazir Ahmad, one of the three graduates, adding that education was lagging behind in Wuzul Kulnar due to its lack of connectivity to educational institutions and the non-availability here of electricity.
He further told Kashmir Reader that those who continue their endeavour to achieve an education using traditional laesh and oil-burning lanterns do occasionally complain of chest-related diseases.
“Standing before the fire for just 30 minutes would mean that its smoke would enter your lungs. Students who read under this kind of light have to bear these consequences also,” Nazir said.
The villagers told Kashmir Reader that they had sent many representations to the PDD authorities and the district administration, but no one paid any heed to their problem.
“It is not that many villages in the area are not having electricity, but only our habitation, which has a total of 51 families, is without power supply in the entire area,” said Mohammad Yaqoob, another of the village’s residents, adding that they had not visited any officials for the last year because of the lack of empathy from them.
PDD Executive Engineer, Awantipora Division, told Kashmir Reader that the village would get electricity under the Deendayal Uppadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY), a central scheme that guarantees electricity to un-electrified villages in India, or the Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna (SAUBHAGYA) scheme.
He also told Kashmir Reader that the person getting bills against electricity should report to his office so that the bill could be cancelled and he could be provided relief.