Making J&K power surplus
While the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha during a function held at Jammu on Sunday was promising to make the power-deficient J&K power surplus in next four years, hundreds of villages in Kashmir Valley besides several areas in Srinagar city and major town were groping in darkness due to lack of electric supply. Sinha made these remarks as the UT administration signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for implementation of major hydro power projects, including 850 MW Ratle and 930 MW Kirthai-II, besides execution of long-pending 1856 MW Sawalkot HEP, 240 MW Uri-I (Stage-II) and 258 MW Dulhasti (Stage-II). The MoUs were signed between Power Development Department (PDD), J&K; National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd. and J&K Power Development Corporation. The occasion also witnessed inauguration of as many as 19 important projects of PDD aimed at greater generation, efficient transmission and better distribution of power supply in J&K during the Mega inauguration ceremony. Speaking on the occasion Union MoS Raj Kumar Singh assured extending every support to the J&K government for various reforms in the power sector. The Lt. Governor admitted that the numerous hydro resources of Jammu & Kashmir are capable of generating 14,867 MW power but the potential had not been fully exploited and only 3504 MW power was being generated till now. He ensured that the works started now will ensure that another 3498 MW power is generated in the next three to four years.
So far, so good. But the fact of the matter is that these are long term projects and the government of the day, it seems, has no clue to deal with the present power crisis. The promise of being ‘power surplus’ in next four years may sound music to the ears but the ground reality is that while in the grip of harsh Chilai Kalan, the people of Valley have facing terrible power shortage. Earlier claims of the authorities that this year the power supply in winters would be better than the previous years have been dashed to ground with the beginning of snowfall. Even after 73 years of independence, Kashmir Valley suffers each winter on the electric power front. Load shedding schedules are announced and then never followed. In villages, even the metered areas get the power supply for just 8 to 10 hours in 24 hours. The situation is a sad commentary on the functioning of the present dispensation.
That said, the chronic electric power scenario during winters is not some new phenomena. The previous governments, be those of Congress, NC, PDP or BJP have failed the people of the Jammu and Kashmir on this front. When the same very parties today talk about power shortage, it makes people laugh. For once, these parties need to admit their follies. At different phases of 73 years, they have been here in the driving seat but did nothing to make Jammu and Kashmir power surplus despite the fact that it had tremendous hydro electric potential. These parties, while ruling the erstwhile state, could even ensure proper transmission lines and even today one sees, in several rurlal areas, these lines hanging on the branches of trees. People of J&K have been failed by those who ruled them time and again so when the present dispensation makes claims of making J&K power surplus, people take such claims with a pinch of salt.