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‘J&K may not meet 24×7 power target by 2019’

Srinagar, June 25: As the electricity demand is likely to reach 4,217 MW by 2021-22 in the state and as work on the majority of the proposed hydropower projects is stalled, the ambitious plan of the government to provide 24X7 power supply to the people by 2019 may remain a political rhetoric.

Sources said that though the Jammu & Kashmir has significant hydropower potential for development due to its predominantly mountainous terrain, however access to electricity being major factor over the years due to slow pace of works on different power projects.

The process to make JK supply power 24×7 was set in motion, when Government in June 2016 signed 24×7 “Power For All” (PFA) document aimed at providing round the clock power supply to people of the state.

The documents were signed in presence of union power minister during two day state power ministers’ conference held on June 16-17 at Goa.

Along with Jammu and Kashmir, the PFA documents were signed by Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh and three Union Territories including Delhi, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. “The plan aims to provide each household access to electricity, 24×7 reliable Power supply and adequate supply to agricultural consumers as per state policy by 2019”.

However sources told early times that though the other states are in the right direction in this regard, it seems that Jammu and Kashmir instead is heading for a major crisis in the coming years ,if projects taken up for increasing generation and infrastructure development continue to get delayed.

Official sources told KNS that a survey conducted by the Union Ministry of Power had projected that J&K would have a peak demand of 4217 MW in 2021-22, with an energy requirement of 21,884million units.

“Hydropower projects take decades to complete and keeping in view the unexpected challenges, the Indus Water Treaty and political issues involved, the state is not expected to complete the existing projects on time. Several hydropower projects are already behind schedule,” sources maintained.

The projects like the 850-MW Rattle project on the Chenab in Kishtwar district was abandoned by the executing agency following a dispute with locals. Legal hurdles and dispute with locals had led to delay in starting the work on the Parnai Hydel Project in Poonch, 1,200 MW Sawalkote, 600 MW Kiru, 240 MW Kirthal, 50 MW Lower Kainal, 520 MW Kawar and 280 MW Ujh.

However, one of the top officials of the power department said that the government is reviving all the stalled projects.

We had got the techno-economic clearance for Kirthai-II from central electricity authority only last year and the same is expected for the Sawlakote soon,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

The PDC owns 22 hydropower projects with cumulative capacity of around 1210 MW. But the state’s energy requirement has gone beyond 2700 MW.

J&K is one among the states having vast hydro power potential from where electricity is also being supplied to several parts of the country. But the state on its own is suffering for want of power as it has to purchase electricity worth hundreds of crores annually from the centre power corporations.

Sources said that Jammu and Kashmir would only be able to provide 24-hour power supply in the next four years if it doubles the power purchase to meet the demand of consumers.

It is to mention here that Union Minister of Power (independent Charge) Raj Kumar Singh had admitted that a population of 4.5 lakh in Jammu Kashmir was still devoid of electricity.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the 330 MW Kishen Ganga hydroelectric project and Srinagar semi ring road project, Singh had said 134 un-electrified villages in Jammu Kashmir had been electrified during the past two-and-a-half-years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.

The union minister had also claimed that the Government of India (GoI) was not only planning to electrify the un-electrified villages across Jammu Kashmir but also ensure 24 hour power supply to the electrified areas.

“New Delhi was doing everything possible to ensure 24-hour power supply in Jammu Kashmir and the construction of the 1000 MW PakalDul project would go a long way in realising this dream,” Singh had said. (KNS)