Hassle-free power supply is the challenge
Come Winter, Kashmir’s power woes begin and this winter too people are skeptical about the supply of electricity. Though still we are in early days of November, coming days have started casting their shadows and people in the length and breadth of Valley have started witnessing frequent scheduled and unscheduled power cuts. However the administration has expressed its resolve to ensure better power supply during winters. The other day a high level meeting in this regard was chaired by the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory wherein he was informed that the Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation has already touched a peak load of 1653 MW which is nearly 100 MW higher than the peak load of 1546 which was served last year. Similarly, the power supply to the Kashmir Valley this year alone had been of the order of 5719.6 million units – an increase of 12 percent over the previous year. The Chief Secretary directed the officers to undertake greater efforts to ensure smooth power supply during winters. He directed inspection of all transformers by 30th November 2021 to ensure good health of transformers, besides simultaneously inspecting all HT/LT fuses within 15 days, the press release said. He insisted on prevention of unscheduled power-cuts due to overloading and formulation of proper protocol to manage scheduled power-cuts. He also directed initiation of IEC campaign for raising awareness on agreemented power load, schedule of electricity cuts and helpline number for complaints. The department was also directed to explore the possibility of informing the public about the scheduled power-cut through text messages in the future, besides ensuring lowering the existing transformer damage rate from 20 to 10 percent during the three winter months.
Given the past history, the rural areas in Kashmir suffer dearly on account of damaged transformers during winter. This time round, the concerned authorities have been asked to ensure that the damaged transformers in all main towns be replaced within 8 hours of reported failure, while in other areas the same shall be made functional within 24 hours. If this really happens on the ground, the troubles of the people could be minimized. Normally the replacement or repairing of transformers in rural areas take days and weeks making people to suffer. The Chief Secretary in the aforementioned meeting said that the government is keen to ensure a vibrant winter tourism season in Kashmir and for this purpose, provision of reliable electricity supply is of critical importance. He exhorted the officers of the KPDCL to provide 24X7 power supply to Gulmarg and Pahalgam. Ensuring 24X7 power supply to tourist resorts is a welcome step but while doing so the government needs to ensure that the local population too gets ample and hassle free power supply. Winter is the time when the electricity is needed more than any other season. The LG administration should take this as a challenge and it goes without saying that if the government succeeds is supply electricity smoothly, it will go a long way in gaining peoples’ confidence and trust.