Discussion on power crisis has admin face tough questions
Srinagar, Feb 17: A panel of experts on Saturday discussed the electricity crisis in Kashmir. The panel comprised of Superintending Engineer at PDD Hashmat Qazi, SPDC Technical General Manager N A Kakroo, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at Kashmir University Shakil Ramshoo, former president of FCIK Syed Shakeel Qalander, journalist Riyaz Masroor, and Iftikhar Drabu. The event was organised by Kashmir Institute, which describes itself as a Srinagar-based think-tank. Qalander kicked off the debate by questioning Qazi, accusing PDD of “illegally” supplying the electricity in Kashmir, keeping in mind the “standard norms”. “As per the standard norms, there needs to be plus minus 6 percent of required voltage, which is 220. But they are supplying us at 80, I suppose, which is illegal,” Qalander said. Qalander also mocked at the PDD for paying the salaries to its employees on time, but not making any of them “accountable for the distributional losses”. He also questioned the processing of electricity bills post-October 2017, despite “no regulatory body at State Consumer Redressal Commission (SCRC)”. “It’s bizarre that State Consumer Redressal Commission (SCRC) is headless and board-less for past one year. All the bills that are been raised post-October 2017, aren’t they illegal?” he questioned. “One cannot raise any bill on the older tariff. The consumers can deny all these bills and they are all illegal.” Drabu too came hard on the PDD for the loss of transmission and distribution that is 80 per cent, highest as compared to the countries like Korea, the USA and China. “Imagine you have purchased 100 kilograms of rice and it has a hole. By the time you take it to your house, you are only left with 20 kilograms. That is what it is, a loss of 80 per cent in transmission and distribution,” he explained. “If you talk about comparison with other countries, then Korea has three per cent, USA and China have seven per cent each,” he said, citing data collected from CEA, PDD website, and various other economic surveys. Qazi, in turn, blamed the people for “unruly” demanding the electricity, saying that the department has the “capacity to meet the disciplined demands”. “If we talk about Kashmir, the demand is not more than 1900-2000 MW. If we have a disciplined demand, there’s not more than 1000-1100 MW, and we have a capacity to meet that. But if you have an unruly demand, then I don’t know what to say,” said the SE. “For instance, heating of 1000 litres water in a day and consuming only 50 out of it and then allowing the rest of the 950 to cool down, that is not the demand I would like to cater,” Qazi added, explaining the “unruly” demand of the people. Qazi said he isn’t in the favour of making an infrastructure that could generate 2000 MW as it would be “gulped” down by the people considering it is “free-availability”. Kakroo, an SPDC employee, reasoned “financial issues” for the under-developed projects that were established years back but haven’t seen any positive outcome. “New Hydro-electricity projects are taken by the government and I am hopeful it will meet the state’s power woes. About the pending projects, then many of them are on the final stage and the work is going on,” he said.