Vox Popli: Winter in, power out!
Despite the fact that the Chief Secretary, Mr. BVR Subrahmanyam, recently directed the power development department (PDD), Kashmir, to ensure supply of electricity in Jammu and Kashmir during the winters and had claimed that there were ‘clear instructions’ from the governor that the consumers should not be put to any inconvenience because of unscheduled power cuts, the situation, however, has begun to worsen, at least in the Valley, as the reports of unscheduled power cuts have begun to pour in from most of the villages here. The old story of winters and power cuts continues to stay in tune no matter what is being said and claimed by the officials!
The news about pesky power cuts comes from every nook and corner of the Valley. People face the worst inconveniences in the winter months here and the approaching winter seems to be unfortunately like the other winters of the past.
Kashmir Images reporter Abid Hussain spoke to many people about the problems they face and any way out that they could think of. Excerpts:
Rahil Hussain, Journalism Student
The power cuts in the Valley during winter period is a massive problem faced by the inhabitants of the Valley, particularly people living in the villages. Given the power production which goes down in winters, the concerned department can still easily allocate additional power supply and start a 24×7 active help lines to reach out to the masses in time.
Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Medical Officer
Power cuts are the normal phenomena of life in Kashmir and are equally experienced by last six to seven generations. In this tech-savvy world we are in need of electricity in nearly every day to day activity of our lives. The central government should give more percentage of the electricity back to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and make its own arrangements for the rest of the states which are draining our production. In addition, people of the state should also learn how to judiciously utilize electricity.
Bashir Ahmad, Teacher
The inhabitants have got accustomed to live a life of dark clutches during winters and no regime has hitherto elicited the citizens from such state of affairs. This has badly affected all the domains of life and a sort of obscurantism has befallen on its citizens. If the government is sincere and serious enough, it has to activate all the stakeholders of the PDD in order to give relief to the helpless and hopeless consumers from such a menace. Besides educating the common masses about the judicious use of power through proclamations and Friday sermons can help in improving the power supply during winters.
Imtiyaz Pandow, Journalist
Undoubtedly, every Kashmiri faces the irritating power woes particularly during winters as unscheduled power cuts, long cut-hours etc become a norm here as soon as winter steps in. In view of the problems, I must say that in today’s modern era of technology everything depends on electricity and there is no other alternative with the masses to overcome the crisis. Apart from judicious use of the electricity, the state government must also ensure solar power generation as a viable option to eradicate the issue. The solar electricity is considered to be very environment friendly and smart energy and our state must also put such technology to use so that people don’t suffer.
Iqra Zainab, Student
With the onset of winter, unscheduled power cuts clench our area, leading to longer phases of darkness. Had there been uninterrupted power supply in Kashmir during winters, the winter times could have been so enjoyable and adorable. The PDD can easily sort out this problem by a proactive maintenance and ensuring that the electricity is used judiciously.
Tanvir Mir, Student
People suffer a lot due to the unscheduled and long power cuts. Students preparing for different exams also suffer. If on one hand, our state is fully capable of generating electricity which could satisfy the local population fully, there, on the other hand, has always been this problem that the production doesn’t match the demand. Hundreds of areas- from rural to urban- spend their nights in darkness during winters. To solve this problem state government should take some solid steps, besides restructuring power line system they should minimize transmission loss. There is also a need to upgrade the infrastructure and machinery.
Power cuts are common across Kashmir but rural areas are the worst hit particularly during winters. In every corner of the Valley electricity could be produced but government should initiate sincere steps to utilise these resources for the people living in proximity with the resources rather than supplying electricity to other states.
Lack of electricity makes life hard for people, particularly women who have to again go back in time to keep their homes warm.
Peer Asif Manzoor, Teacher
With the onset of winter in Kashmir, power crisis becomes a norm here with scheduled and unscheduled power cuts marring each day and each night. The worst sufferers are the students as they have to usually prepare for summer work and exams and lack of electricity keeps them away from their books. The main problem lies in the failure of authorities to upgrade the decades old transmission infrastructure. The present system is unable to meet the peak demand of electric supply during the winters. There are huge losses in transmission and distribution lines. So authorities must upgrade the infrastructure to solve the power crisis once for all. On the other hand, people need to cooperate with the scheduled curtailments and must stop illegal use of electricity. They should also minimize the use of high consumption electronic gadgets during wee hours in order to ensure that people don’t suffer.