Srinagar: The holy month of Ramadan in Kashmir is marred with the worst power crisis causing inconvenience to people.
Across the Valley, residents complained about frequent power outages especially at the time of Sehri’ (when pre-dawn meals to begin the day’s fast are taken) and Iftar’ (when the fast is broken).
The Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL), for its part, said the entire country, and not just Kashmir, was facing a power crisis due to shortage of coal and imbalance in demand and supply.
There has hardly been a day when we have had electricity at the time of Sehri or Iftar. During the day, the situation gets worse. We have never faced such a situation before, Javid Ahmad, a resident of Ganderbal, said.
The scenario is not better in Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Srinagar, where many areas are metered.
In winters, we used to get power supply as per the schedule. But as soon as we entered the holy month, we began facing issues in electricity supply. We pay bills on time, but rarely have we had power (supply) at Sehri and Iftar. This has created a lot of inconvenience, Mohammad Yusuf, a local, said.
People complained that the situation was far worse in non-metered areas.
“We have more hours of power cut than supply. Most of the evenings, our areas go dark,” Umar Ahmad, a resident of downtown Srinagar said.
The locals have been regularly taking to social media to flag their concerns. However, it has not helped, they alleged.
The National Conference (NC) on Saturday said Kashmir was facing a huge power crisis and appealed to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to intervene so that the people did not face any hardships in the remaining days of the holy month.
The ground situation, the feedback we are getting, what we see in the media… this is a huge crisis, something which has never been seen before. Electricity is snapped at Sehri’, Iftar’ and Taraweeh’ (night prayers), NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said here.
He said the Lieutenant Governor had assured the people to have directed the authorities to look into the issue. However, the problem persisted.
“We appeal to the L-G to seek answers from the authorities about the problems being faced by the people. We have our own power sources. We are also procuring electricity from outside, which the administration says incurs losses to the government. But the electricity is not reaching the people. This raises doubts about the reasons given for the power outage,” the NC general secretary said.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) also expressed its concern over the unscheduled power cuts.
“We have never seen such worst and frequent cuts in the holy month, especially during Sehri and Iftaar,” a KCCI spokesman said.
In the past, the governments and administrations tried to help the people during Ramzan, but harrowing experiences are unfolding in the holy month this year, the chamber said.
Patients, who are on oxygen support at their homes, were struggling throughout, it added.
KPDCL chief engineer Javid Yusuf said there was coal shortage across the country, leading to frequent power cuts.
Also, there is less power supply, but the demand is huge, and then the electricity generation in hydro power projects in the union territory is poor due to less rainfall, he said.
Officials said the demand for electricity in Kashmir is around 1,600 megawatt (MW), while the supply is only of about 900 to 1100 MW. PTI