Power Crisis – Scapegoating Won’t Help!

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The tall claims made by the Union Territory administration regarding smooth power and water supply in Kashmir particularly during the month of Ramzan are falling flat as reports pouring in from different areas suggest the otherwise. People in Srinagar city have been complaining from the beginning of the holy month about the frequent power cuts particularly during Iftaar and Sehri times. The rural areas are facing much worse on the electric power front. Though responding to the outrage of Srinagarites against erratic power supply on social media platforms, the administration has ordered attachment of two officers of PDD, one wonders whether these two junior officers where the sole reason behind power outages. The step is seen as cosmetic as the higher-ups, without digging deep to find solutions to the problem, have a habit of making a few scapegoats in a bid to ease peoples’ tempers. This has been happening in Kashmir and continues to happen. Lt Governor administration should look into the matter seriously and ask the concerned authorities to find out what leads to frequent power cuts. It goes without saying that the usage of electricity increases manifold during the ongoing month of Ramzan particularly during Iftaar and Sehri timing and this time round, given the frequent rainfall-led low mercury, the consumption definitely would be higher. The PDD authorities should have kept this hard reality in view before making claims that uninterrupted power supply would be ensured during the month of Ramzan. Targeting two junior officers for the failures of the entire system is neither going to help the administration nor the common people.

The current power scenario reminds one of the first snowfall in the month of December last year. Ahead of the snowfall, during a meeting to review the winter preparedness, the concerned officers assured the Lt Governor that all the agencies were fully prepared for the tasks ahead. A long statement was issued after the meeting by DIPR wherein all the concerned agencies had made tall claims of being prepared to tackle any sort of weather vagaries. And then it snowed! For several days the authorities were neither able to restore the power supply nor could clear the interior roads in Srinagar, forget about the roads in rural areas. Once again a hue and cry was raised by the citizenry about the failure of the administration and finally they were told that in Srinagar there are not sufficient machines to clear the snow. A question was raised in these columns at the time and it was suggested that Lt Governor should make the officers, who lied in the review meeting about being fully prepared, accountable. Because no questions were asked and no one was made accountable, the incident was left to fade from the memory of the citizens. Same is happening today. If the concerned authorities are not able to supply the requisite electric power why to lie? Why not to tell the consumers the truth? Why not to issue and publicise a load-shedding schedule so that people are not caught unawares when the electricity vanishes without any warning. Suspending or attaching two junior officers is a crude joke which no one is going to laugh at.

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