Energy Woes

Energy Woes
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The perennial power and energy woes of Jammu and Kashmir show no signs of abating. The problem gets acute in winter in the Kashmir division of the region and in summer in the Jammu division for obvious reasons: peak demand in the respective seasons. While there is no dearth of analyses and assessments about the power woes of Jammu and Kashmir, it would appear that the some of the problem lies in nodes of the supply and value chain of electricity generation, transmission and distribution. These aspects of the problem or issue can be obviated by holding the utility function of electricity generation and perhaps part privatization of the distribution function of the whole chain. This can be complemented by a vigorous push to open the electricity generation field to private players and entrepreneurs who can build and develop mini power stations across Jammu and Kashmir. There are a few examples of eminently successful entrepreneurship in this regard but more needs to be done to make this domain accessible to potential entrepreneurs. The overall concomitant to this can also lie in building complements to hydro electricity in Jammu and Kashmir. Solar energy strikes to mind as the robust alternative or complement. But, due to a whole host of reasons, solar energy in the region has not entirely taken off despite the potential. There are allied and important benefits to solar energy in the nature of being environmentally friendly and there is also some scope for employment generation. The energy woes of Jammu and Kashmir then are not irremediable or incurable. What is actually required is a comprehensive policy review that synthesizes different sources of electricity, streamlines and makes more efficient extant and existing capacities and capabilities, tightens up the entire value and supply chain among other things. But, all said and done, delineating the nature and form of the policy review is the easiest bit. The real challenges lie in finding the will and resolve to translate concepts and policy prescriptions into practice. If and when this is done, much of the woes that afflict the power and electricity sector in Jammu and Kashmir will not only dissipate but will be considerably improved. Spin off benefits will be felt in domains as the industrial sectors, and the enhancement of productivity and efficiency across sectors. The wild card here, to repeat, is will and resolve.

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