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JK forms committee to speed up installation of smart meters

Srinagar, May 01: Two years after sanctioning of the project, the state government has finally constituted a four-member committee to ensure “fast-track” installation of smart consumer meters.
The state’s Power Development Department (PDD) has, till now, been sitting over installing of two lakh consumer meters in the state, aimed at “reducing the transmission and distribution losses.”
Of two lakh meters, the department would install one lakh smart meters each in Kashmir and Jammu regions.
As per the fresh order by General Administration Department, the state government has announced the framing of fresh committee headed by the Chief Secretary to oversee fast-track installing of consumer metering, their operation, maintenance, reading and billing services, and the implementation of Smart Grid Projects in J&K State.
The three members of the committee include Administrative Secretaries of Finance Department, Planning, Development and Monitoring Department and Power Development Department.
Serviced by PDD, the government had asked the committee to submit its report within a period of one month.
The committee, as per the order, shall critically analyse the consultancy charges as contained in the proposal.
It has been also directed to suggest measures for maximising participation of state owned PSUs and local contractors in taking up the project.
Sources in the PDD said that the government has directed for the completion of this project before the end of current year.
“The government and department in particular is looking for completing the project on fast track basis in order to reduce the losses. The project after completion will improve the power scenario up to a certain level,” they said.
As part of the Rs 80,000-crore Prime Minister Development Package (PMDP), the project till now hasn’t moved beyond papers since 2015, when the package was announced by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
The project faced multiple administrative hitches even after a private company was nominated to implement the project.
In 2017, the concerned department though asked a private company REC Power Distribution Company Limited (RECPDCL), to float the tenders for installation of two lakh smart meters in the state, but it later didn’t issued the Letter of Authorisation (LoA) for the project.
RECPDCL later canceled the bid, after the government didn’t officially authorised it to hire them.
Presently the Jammu and Kashmir has over 50 percent Transmission and Distribution losses, while the national average is around 30 percent.