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Despite having enormous potential, why are we power-starved?

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By: Peer Mohammad Amir Qureshi

The UT of Jammu and Kashmir has enormous potential for producing electricity despite not being well known for its energy resources like coal, gas, or Petroleum. The UT is widely known for its numerous water resources in the shape of rivers and streams that burst down precipitous mountains. Both the topography and the flow are ideal for hydroelectric power production.

The UT’s projected hydel power generation capacity is 2000 MW, but some more recent studies dispute this number by putting the capacity at 3500 MW. Only 10% of this enormous potential has been harnessed thus far, leaving the remaining 90% unrealized. A significant portion of the overall tapped potential goes into the kitty of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).

Power Projects owned by National Hydroelectric power Corporation (NHPC) include:

Salal hydroelectric power project: This is situated on Chenab in the Reasi locale of Jammu division with an introduced limit of 690 MW. Work on this undertaking began in 1970 and its most memorable stage was dispatched in 1987. First unit of stage II was charged in 1993, second in 1994 and third in 1995. The task since its activity is running under NHPC and the production goes toward the northern network.

Dulhasti hydroelectric power project: The undertaking has come up over waterway Chenab in Kishtawar district. Dul and Hasti are two distinct areas holding onto Dam and are to be reckoned with separately. The development work began in 1985 and got functional in 2007. The venture has an all-out introduced limit of 390 MW. This venture also goes to NHPC and the production goes to northern lattice.

Uri hydroelectric power project: This undertaking has come up on the waterway Jhelum close to Uri in Kashmir division. The task has an introduced limit 480 MW (phase I). The Northern Grid receives a significant portion of the output that is supplied by this project, which is likewise operated and maintained by power project

The Baglihar Power Project: It has been built across the Chenab River close to Batote. The project’s 900MW installed capacity is its whole capacity. The first phase of the project, which began in 1999 and had a first-phase operational completion date of 2008 with a 450 MW installed capacity, was completed in November 2015. Despite fierce opposition from the general public and PDC personnel, the project, which was completely owned by the erstwhile state, was handed over to NHPC after a successful run of about three months.

Power Projects owned By Jammu Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD) include:

The Mohra hydroelectric power project: It was built and put into service in 1907, during the reign of the maharaja. It is an older power project and the entire installed capacity is 9MW. It is situated on the Jhelum River in Mohra in the Baramulla district. Being the second hydroelectric power project on the Indian subcontinent, it has the distinction of being the first here.

The Lower Sindh Hydroelectric Power Project was established in 1956 and is situated on Nallah Sindh in Ganderbal. A manmade canal, commonly referred to as the power canal and bringing waters from Nallah Sindh, feeds the power plant. 15MW is the project’s total installed capacity.

Lower Jhelum Hydroelectric Power Project: This project uses the Jhelum River to generate electricity, with the power plant being in Warikhwal.

Upper Sindh (sumbal) hydroelectric power project: This project harnesses the running waters of Nallah Sindh with power house at Sumbal. The project was commissioned in the year 1973 and has an installed capacity of 22.60MW.

Upper Sindh (Kangan) hydroelectric power project: This power house has come up utilizing the waters of Sindh. The project has a total capacity of 105MW

More than 3500 megawatt of electricity is generated in Jammu and Kashmir each year by 24 hydroelectric projects located throughout the union territory’s several districts. The Kashmir region generates about 2500 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to supply the valley with electricity. Yet, in the winters particularly, Kashmir Valley suffers massive power cuts and bad schedules. The government has announced a schedule for power outages that includes a daily 4.5-hour outage in metered regions and an eight-hour outage in non-metered areas.

Winter is significantly harsher and more difficult to survive when there are power outages and temperatures are below zero. Consumers of electricity saw increased power bills as a result of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) of Jammu and Kashmir’s approval of an 8 to 22% increase in residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural power tariffs throughout the union territory which incensed the people of Kashmir. In Ganderbal and Doda, the district administration has placed limitations on the sale of electric appliances and urged store owners to refrain from selling heating equipment to clients. Under Section 144, restrictions have been placed on the sale of heaters, geysers, electric blankets and other electric appliances.

Without such essentials as heaters and warm water for bathing in the bitter winter, how could a human possibly survive in the minus temperature? We are obliged to pay our electricity Bills on time and deserve a better electricity supply.

(The author is a columnist and is pursuing MSc in zoology. He tweets @peermohdamir and can be mailed at [email protected])

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