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.
Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight
Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.
Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.
The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.
SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.
He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.
Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.
Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.
They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.
Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.
In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.
IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured
Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.
Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.
Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.
The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.
Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.
Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.
The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”
“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.
“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.
In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.
The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)
Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony
Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.
J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.
J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.
In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.
On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.
On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.
Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.
According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.
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