Fond of blaming consumers, PDD failed to upgrade infrastructure to better power scenario
Srinagar, Dec 05: Despite claims by the government about spending a hefty sum on upgrading, Kashmir Valley still lacks the required infrastructure for smooth power supply to the consumers.
For the last several years, the government has been claiming that hundreds of crores of rupees were spent on augmentation of power infrastructure.
Last year, the Government of India said Rs 8,000 crore was released to boost power sector in the state.
However, the valley is still battling the infrastructure shortage, resulting in power crisis.
As per the government documents, the total number of consumers in Kashmir is 9.65 lakh with a requirement of 1,332.04 MW fulfilled through 242 receiving stations.
However, only 42 per cent of consumers have been provided with meters.
An official of Power Development Department said the government has failed to upgrade the existing system in grid stations in Kashmir.
“The government recently approved Rs 146.12 crore for existing system in various grid stations where in 21 grid stations are being renovated either for upgrading also due to technological growth,” the official said.
The official said there were several projects that have not been completed in the last so many years.
One such project was Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) for rural electrification. The project was to cost around Rs 800 crore
The money, the official said, was to be utilised in the villages of Anantnag, Budgam, Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal, and Kupwara districts in the valley.
Tenders for the project, he said, were floated multiple times since October 2016, until the two companies turned up to bag the project.
However, following disclosure about the companies’ “poor track record in other states” the project was stalled, the official said.
The official said that there is an immense load on Pampore and Zainakote power grids from where electricity is being supplied to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.
However, there are so many grid stations, where the work has been going on for the last so many years.
One such project is Alastang grid station, on which the work was started eight years earlier. The project has not been completed, which could have helped the power scenario in Kashmir.
The work on Alastang grid station was started in 2010 for transmission of electricity to Ganderbal district. “The two power grids face overloading resulting in frequent power cuts in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts. Presently, the Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station and remains overloaded,” the official said.
“Had the Alastang grid station been completed, it would have reduced load on two existing power grids and helped the state to upgrade the power supply in the valley,” the official said.
Similarly, Delina grid stations have to be augmented to cater to north Kashmir.
The PDD also has to complete a power grid station the foundation of which was laid ten years ago in Bandipora.
The transmission line supposed to feed that grid is incomplete and prevents the supply of reliable power to households in that region.
“If the department gets these projects done by next year, then it can focus on future and prevent Kashmir from facing another power crisis,” the official said.
The official said that existing transformers and power lines are also in bad shape. “There are technical snags in electricity due to poor power infrastructure,” the official added.
Chief Engineer PDD, Hashmat Qazi, admitted there was a lack of infrastructure.“Government is working on it,” the Chief Engineer said.
He, however, said it was also responsibility of consumers to use electricity judiciously, so that people provided uninterrupted power supply.