Anantnag: The power supply in Bijbehara town of this south Kashmir’s Anantnag district remains badly affected since heavy snowfall in the first week of November last year. Bijbehara is the home town of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The residents rue that they are yet to see a “full hour” of uninterrupted power supply since November. “The longest stretch of uninterrupted power supply has been 55 minutes. We do not get more than 6 to 8 hours of power supply in 24 hours that too in bits and pieces.”
The Power Development Department (PDD) said the early snowfall, in November last year, caused heavy damage caused to the transmission lines.
“We are receiving only 80 MWs of power instead of the scheduled 1150,” the PDD Chief Engineer, Hasgmat Qazi, was reported as saying.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan had also formed an inquiry committee to “ascertain the widespread disruption of electricity following the snow”.
Earlier in January, it was reported that an additional 100 MW of power will be supplied to the valley. However, the people of Bijbehara town are yet to receive a respite in the freezing cold, with the electricity supply going from bad to worse.
The town, as per schedule, is supposed to receive a 12-hour supply in rotation. “Two hours at a time they say. But they have failed to provide even that much,” the locals told Kashmir Reader adding that “after less than an hour of power supply, there is an outage of an hour and then another fifty minutes of power supply”.
Recently, the people of the town took to streets and blocked the national highway running across the town. The PDD then assured that the power supply will get better.
“Then, they (PDD) resorted to bifurcation of the town, on two feeders. They have put people living near the national highway on one feeder and the rest of the town on another. So technically the people who are likely to hit the highway get better power supply than the rest,” the locals from New Colony area of the town said.
The “pathetic condition” of the power supply is not only making the residents suffer but the local industrial area as well, who have been living with the promise of getting “essential services” for years now.
“Leave alone the essential service; we do not even get what the residential areas are supposed to. We are facing losses due to these power outages and there is no one to listen to us,” a unit holder at the Industrial Estate, requesting not to be named, told Kashmir Reader.
When contacted, the Executive Engineer of PDD division Bijbehara Mushtaq Ahmad Shah contradicted the residents’ claims.
“We have a schedule of providing 12-hour supply to people and that is what we are doing. There are no unnecessary outages,” Shah said adding that “there are disruptions sometimes, due to snow”.