Rashid Paul

J&K’s power purchase bill set to hit all time high

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Overall expenditure on power likely to be Rs 8000 crores approx

Srinagar, Jan 27: Jammu and Kashmir’s power purchase bill from central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) is set to hit an all time high during the current fiscal while the overall expenditure on power is likely to touch approximately Rs 8000 crores.

Out of the total budget of Rs 89,467 crore, the state will incur an expenditure of Rs 7961 crore on power including its purchase, liability and subsidy during the fiscal ending on 31st March this year.

The spending shall include power liability of Rs 1500 crore besides a subsidy of Rs 1300 crores.

Almost six percent of the state’s budget had been earmarked for paying for power, liquidating liabilities and subsidies, reveal the official figures.

The power expenditure has shot up spectacularly as only Rs 4236 crore were incurred the previous fiscal.

Much of the state’s allocation on power sector goes on purchasing the electricity from Northern Grid and many Government of India CPSUs dealing in power trading, said a senior official at the Power Development Department (PDD).

J&K has paid Rs 21,638 crores to different CPSUs between 2013 to 2017. This money could have generated 2300 Megawatt electricity by constructing run of the river hydroelectric power plants on state’s different rivers.

Confirming that 90-95 percent of the required energy is purchased by J&K from CPSUs, Chief Engineer PDD (Maintenance) Qazi Hashmat informed this newspaper that 285 lakh units are purchased by the department on daily basis in winters.

The purchases go down to approximately 200 lakh units in summers a day when generation form the local hydel power projects increases, he said.

He, however, added that there is a wide gap between the energy purchased by the state and the proceeds from its sale.

“We collected a revenue of Rs 2100 crore last year and rest is the loss. We are struggling to bridge this wide gap between the cost of purchase and the sales,” he said.

A senior official in the State Power Development Corporation, wishing not to be named, said that there is lack of political will in Jammu and Kashmir for taking the state out of the existing weak economic state.

“All the local politicians in the post-1953 era have acted as need-based workers of the Government of India lacking vision and courage to put the state on the trajectory of growth,” he said.

“A significant part of our revenue goes in buying the power which affects our spending on asset creation and allocation on social sectors including quality education and health-care,” he added

In order to meet its ever-increasing energy requirement, J&K made a payment of Rs 21,638 crores to different CPSUs between 2013 to 2017, a capital enough to generate 2300 Megawatt electricity by constructing run of the river hydroelectric power plants on its different river systems.

The state has so far been able to exploit only about 16 percent of the estimated 20,000 MW of hydro-power potential. Its energy demand continues to rise and there is a wide gap between demand and supply.




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