Srinagar: Summers are here, but the long dark winters seem to be far from over for the Power Development Department (PDD) which is still resorting to long power cuts announced in November last.
The people living across Kashmir Valley have been witnessing unscheduled and scheduled power cuts and the situation seems to be been worsening day by day. Just yesterday Char-e-Sharief township observed a complete shutdown against the non-availability of power in the area. The residents have threatened massive agitation in case the scenario does not improve.
It’s not that Char-e-Sharief is the only area that is complaining. Residential areas like Rafiabad, Sopore, Baramulla, Kupwara and numerous peripheries in South Kashmir as well have been protesting power cuts and threatening action against the PDD.
Like the previous year’s this winter too the PDD had announced power curtailment schedule in November last year where the metered areas were subjected to 21 hours of weekly cut and non-metered had to face 42 hours long curtailment. However, this announcement was confined to papers only as residents complained much longer and unscheduled power cuts.
So, the question still remains-what makes the PDD so energy deficient that even after the advent of summers it has failed to bring any change in the power curtailment schedule. The PDD which had announced in mid March to hold a review meet about the curtailment schedule has failed to get things going.
As of now the new schedule which the department had promised in mid March is yet to be announced which would have made the life of people a bit more easier.
It is ironic that the PDD which had the opportunity to cash in on the chance that the Union government provided when it announced that it will provide additional power to the state to come over the crisis it faced on the power front during the winters.
The centre in December last year announced an allocation of additional power of 792 MW for Jammu and Kashmir in view of higher demand in winters in the state. However, the department failed to import the additional allocation owing to poor transmission network.
Though the issue not non utilization of funds to upgrade the power infrastructure was debated for long both in the media and official circles, but still it did not encourage the PDD to take some measures and try to improve the situation on ground.
The up gradation of infrastructure though believed to take time, the PDD has failed to get the new digital meters installed across the state. The PDD has projected installation of 11, 47,723 meters between 2015 and 2019 in domestic and non-domestic categories and had set up a target of 100 percent metering by the end of 2019.
However, here too the neglect and apathy on the part of the PDD dominated the scene. As of now it has been months now that the PDD is waiting for a consignment of meters to arrive so that the same could be installed.