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)
‘170 ADB-funded projects costing 3305 cr completed’
Srinagar, Jul 20: Jammu & Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (JKERA) has completed 170 externally funded infrastructure projects in the State with a cumulative investment of Rs 3305 crore.
This information was given at a high-level meeting chaired by Principal Secretary, Planning, Development & Monitoring Department, Rohit Kansal here this morning to review the progress of externally funded infrastructure projects.
CEO, JKERA, Vikas Kundal briefed the meeting in detail about the physical and financial progress of externally funded infrastructure projects being executed in the State.
The meeting was informed that JKERA began its activities on ground in 2006 starting with the execution of Phase-I of Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded projects under Jammu & Kashmir Multi-Sector Project for Infrastructure Rehabilitation (JKMPIR) to improve the delivery of basic services in the state and help sustain economic growth.
Under JKMPIR, 117 projects were taken up for execution with an investment of Rs 1611 crores. These projects included improvement/upgradation of around 600 KMs road length across the State, construction of 31 bridges, construction of 53 storage reservoirs, redevelopment of 38 tube wells in Jammu, revamping/ rehabilitation of 5 Water Treatment Plants in Srinagar, construction of 95 KMs of storm water drainage network in Jammu/Srinagar cities, construction of 36 Public Toilets at tourist destinations and hospitals in Srinagar/Jammu cities, providing 35 water tankers to Public Health Engineering Department, providing 26 Garbage Carriers, 15 Loaders, 10 Sewer Cleaning equipments, 175 Containers to Srinagar and Jammu Municipal Corporations for transportation of solid waste and development of infrastructure at Achan Landfill site in Srinagar.
In Phase-II, 53 major infrastructure projects funded by ADB under Jammu & Kashmir Urban Sector Development Investment Programme (JKUSDIP) were taken up at a cost of Rs 1694 crores to further strengthen the basic public infrastructure in the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu.
Some of the key projects executed under JKUSDIP include construction of Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh-Barzalla Flyover and TRC Grade Separator in Srinagar and Bikram Chowk flyover in Jammu to decongest the traffic in the twin capital cities.
Under JKUSDIP, JKERA also constructed two mechanized parking facilities in the city centre’s of Srinagar and Jammu to provide maiden vertical parking facility in the busiest commercial hubs of the twin capital cities. Construction of sewerage project was also taken up under JKUSDIP in Jammu.
The component of solid waste management under ADB funded JKMPIR was continued under JKUSDIP. JKERA took up a comprehensive project for converting the Achan landfill site to Scientific Land fill site with the construction of state-of-the-art sanitary cells.
The meeting was informed that identification of projects for Phase-III of the ADB funding to the tune of $150 Million has been completed and process has been initiated for engagement of Project Design and Management Consultancy (PDMC) in JKERA.
While reviewing the progress of Rs 1500 crore, World Bank funded Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP), the meeting was informed that Project Management Unit (PMU) has been able to provide necessary impetus to the project and has awarded works costing more than Rs 500 crores during the past 6 months.
Kashmir journos protest ‘baseless’ ToI report
Srinagar, Jul 20: Scores of Kashmiri journalists Saturday held a silent protest at the Kashmir Press Club premises against the “baseless and misleading” report published in Times of India the other day.
In a joint statement, various scribe associations said that journalists from both national and regional media vociferously condemned the “malicious” report which was based entirely on “fabrication and concoction” on part of Saleem Pandith, the reporter under whose byline the story was published.
“Journalists in unanimous voice said that Pandith has no right to defame credible institutions like the Kashmir Press Club, Kashmir Editors Guild and English daily Kashmir Reader,” the statement read.
The protesting journalists also deplored the act of labeling Kashmiri journalists by Pandith.
“He unfortunately is notorious for disseminating fake news to suit his personal agenda and to avenge his group’s loss in the recently-held elections of KPC,” they said in the statement.
“…Pandith has relied on unsubstantiated claims to malign and endanger the entire journalist fraternity of Kashmir,” they added.
Members from KPC, Kashmir Editors Guild, Kashmir Working Journalists Association, Kashmir Journalists Association, Kashmir Press and Photographers Association and several other organisations demanded strict action against the reporter.
The protestors also demanded that membership of Salim Pandith at KPC “should be cancelled without any delay.”
They, as per the statement, demanded that ToI “must immediately remove the baseless report and publish an unconditional apology for publishing Pandith’s fantasies.”
Fund startups, Adv to Financial institutions
Srinagar, Jul 20: The Advisor to Governor K Skandan Saturday urged financial institutions to give a thought for ‘positive policy’ to fund startups by associating them with innovation ecosystems to guide them in their early stages of business.
The Advisor stated this during a launch ceremony of ‘Smart JK Hackathon’—the first State-level Innovation Competition—at J&K Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI), Pampore.
The one-and-a-half-month long innovation competition is aimed to institutionalize a model for harnessing the creativity and technical expertise of students and innovators to an already defined problem statement.
Hackathon is a digital programming competition aimed at identifying new and disruptive technological innovations for solving the challenges faced by the public, businesses and the industry.
Speaking on the occasion, the Advisor said that innovation ecosystems can act as a bridge between financial institutions and startups where these ecosystems provide the accessibility to superior technology, mentors, talent, corporates, customers, and government agencies, investors, etc.
He said that not all startups need investors while some need nurturing mainly during their early months or years, adding by this there can be balance by providing incubators to young firms.