Kishtwar to soon emerge as north India’s power hub: Jitendra Singh
Jammu: Kishtwar is all set to emerge as north India’s “major power hub” with the generation of around 6,000 MW of electricity after the completion of the ongoing power projects, Union minister Jitendra Singh said on Saturday.
Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office, was on an extensive tour of the remote areas of the hill district of Kishtwar, part of his Udhampur parliamentary constituency.
He visited Gulabgarh in the Paddar area and the far-off Massu village, where he also inaugurated the new school set up by ‘Shiksha Bharti’ for village children.
The Union Minister, who is also a renowned physician and diabetologist, also participated in the multi-speciality medical camp organised by the Army at Gulabgarh.
“Six to seven major hydropower projects have come up in the region in a short span of 9 to 10 years ever since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister,” Singh said addressing a public meeting in Gulabgarh.
“The largest capacity project is Pakal Dul with a capacity of 1,000 MW. Its estimated cost, as of now, is Rs 8,112.12 crore and the expected timeline of competition is 2025. Another major project is the Kiru hydroelectric project with a capacity of 624 MW. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 4,285.59 crore and the timeline for this as well is 2025,” he added.
The minister said at the same time, the Ratle project with a capacity of 850 MW has been revived as a joint venture between the Centre and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
In addition, the existing Dulhasti power station has an installed capacity of 390 MW, while the Dulhasti II hydroelectric project will have a capacity of 260 MW, he said.
Singh said these projects shall not only augment the power supply position therefore making up for the shortage of power supply in Jammu and Kashmir, but the huge investment for setting up these projects is also a boost for direct as well as indirect opportunities for the locals.
For six long decades, he said the successive governments at the Centre and the state had ignored the Kishtwar region because of their “vote bank politics”.
“It was only after Modi took over that he changed the work culture and ensured that all neglected regions would be given their due attention and priority so that they may also rise to the same level… Kishtwar is going to emerge as north India’s major power hub after completion of the ongoing projects,” Singh said.
He added that for several years, people in Kishtwar were agitating and demanding a degree college for Paddar but the Congress and National Conference governments deliberately ignored the demand.
“It was only after Modi took over in 2014 that a degree college was sanctioned for Paddar under the Centre’s RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan) scheme,” he said.
Citing another example, the minister said before 2014, road travel to Kishtwar was cumbersome and even during minor landslides, the Doda-Kishtwar road used to get blocked.
“Today, the road travel time from Jammu to Kishtwar has reduced from over seven hours in 2014 to less than five hours now. Similarly, during these nine years, Kishtwar has come up on the aviation map of India and has been sanctioned an airport under Centre’s UDAAN scheme, which nobody had ever imagined,” he said.
The minister added that three new national highways including Khilani-Sudhmahadev highway, a series of degree colleges, mobile towers on the Machail Yatra route and in other remote areas have also come up during Modi’s tenure.
As for Machail, Singh said mobile towers have been set up, multiple toilet complexes constructed and solar plants installed for regular power supply, and all this happened only after 2014.
“Not only this, the motorable road to Machail is under fast track construction and the day is not far when Kisthwar to Machail travel would be just about one-and-a-half to two hours,” he said.
Meanwhile, the multi-speciality medical camp at Gulabgarh was attended by nearly 2,000 patients.
All the villagers registered for the camp were ushered to general OPD, where medical officers and specialists elicited the clinical details and advised investigations, where required, an official spokesman said.
Singh thanked the Army and the team led by Major General Shivendra Singh for providing the much-needed medical facilities to this remote hilly rural area.