Reyaz Rashid

Covid-19 patients on oxygen concentrators face grave risks due to frequent power cuts

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Baramulla: Notwithstanding boastful official claims of preparedness, come winter, unscheduled and long power cuts become a norm throughout Kashmir.

Besides exacting physical and psychological costs on the people, this time, however, these unexplained power outages are also are putting thousands of COVID-19 patients – the ones on oxygen concentrators — to grave risks.

Throughout Kashmir, people are up in arms against Power Development Department (PDD). The trauma and rage of people, particularly the ones whose kin have contracted COVID-19 and need oxygen concentrators, should not be difficult to understand!

“My mother is COVID positive and doctors advised me to put her on oxygen concentrator to maintain her oxygen saturation. The gadget needs 220 volts power supply but frequent power cuts leave the concentrator useless and lives of patients like my mother are at risk,” said Manzoor Ahmad Sheikh, a resident of Sheeri Baramulla.

Shiekh is not the only person suffering this additional trauma – hundreds or may be many times more people are facing similar situation – unscheduled and long power cuts, as well as inappropriate current and voltage strength is risking the lives of their dear ones who are need oxygen support to fight the COVID infection.

“We have been paying our bills on time but there is no power in our homes and no one is bothered about the problems and hardships people face,” Irshad Ahmad, a resident of Uri, told ‘Kashmir Images’.

“As per curtailment schedule, there should be one hour power cut for five days in a week in metered areas but authorities provide us only four to six hours power supply in 24 hours since the onset of winter adding to our winter woes,” said one Mushtaq Ahmad of Tangmarg.

“Our entire area has been metered and the promise was that we will get regular power supply. But situation is so pathetic on the power front that it seems that the authorities are deliberately using power-cuts as a tool to torture and torment people of Kashmir,” said Bilal Ahmad, who runs a mobile phone repairing shop in Baramulla town.

“We hardly get power for three hours throughout a day; and in the evenings the situation only gets worse,” said another resident Imtiyaz Ahmad.

“The situation is not like that what people say. Unscheduled power cuts are due to automatic power tripping at receiving stations due to overload” said Assistant Executive Engineer PDD Baramulla. “People will have to regulate their loads so that the system is not overloaded; should they do it, there will be no power cuts,” he added.

Pertinently, the Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited has announced a power curtailment schedule according to which non-metered areas will face 4-hour and metered areas 3-hour curtailment per day. This curtailment is supposed to be 3 hours for metered feeders – for one hour in each slot thrice a day….

But as of now, and min it, winter season has just begun, this curtailment schedule is observed in complete breach.

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