Srinagar, Jan 17: Beware consumers! If you are caught stealing power, you may have to face penal action and shell-out huge fines.
Official documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, has directed all district development commissioners, Managing Director and chief engineers of J&K State Power Trading Corporation Limited (JKSPTC) to activate inspection teams and task force to curb the menace of power theft.
“DCs, SSPs of all districts shall provide necessary magistrates and police personnel along with lady constables to the enforcement teams and task force teams. The violators shall be booked under relevant rules,” read the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir directives.
An official at Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir office, said government has told JKSPTC that it should generate its own resources and not remain dependent on the financial support.
“As PDD has been reconstituted into JKSPTC, it has to create its own revenue model. Stopping power theft is one of the measures that will make JKSPTC viable,” he said.
The official said that JKSPTC has sought police protection for its field staff to stop power thefts. “This issue was raised with higher authorities that JKSPTC can’t go to areas during night hours. Many a times they have to face public wrath,” he said.
Taking note, government has asked the police department to provide assistance to JKSPTC in stopping power thefts in Kashmir.
Past experience shows that fines have not deterred people from stealing power and therefore government has decided to act tough to curb the menace. “So it has been decided to file cases against those who often resort to power thefts,” he said.
The department has formed various teams to conduct inspections during nights in order to stop pilferage. “All those who resort to power pilferage will be heavily fined. Besides FIRs will also be lodged where power theft grossly take place,” the official said.
Officially there is an agreement of 800 megawatts, but the demand reaches 2000 megawatts during winters.
“We owe money to National Hydro Electric Power Corporation and J&K Power Development Corporation. Each year, there is around Rs 3000 crore revenue gap. Therefore government has directed JKSPTC to stop power thefts,” the official said.
Another top official said JKSPTC may borrow loans from banks to clear liabilities. “The Corporation is no more longer dependent on exchequer. It has to create its own resources,” he said.
He said there is also a liability of Rs 26 crores of private entrepreneurs on account of repairs of transformers.
Bukhari’s ‘Apni Party’ constitution in making
Srinagar, Feb 23: Former minister Altaf Bukhari and his team are in the process of framing the constitution of ‘Apni Party’, the third front being formed to kick-start the stalled political process in Kashmir, courtesy Centre’s detention of major political players.
“The draft constitution has entered its final stage and is awaiting approval. We will declare our party anytime as all the formalities have been completed,” Bukhari said in an exclusive chat with The Kashmir Monitor.
‘Apni Party’ is meant to work as a third front to resume political activities in Kashmir at a time when three former CMs and other major political leaders are facing PSAs and detention since August when J&K simultaneously lost its statehood and special status.
Bukhari, a former PDP Minister, has been busy lately in garnering support of those political leaders, who managed to remain free, possibly in lieu of their silence.
On Saturday, Bukhari met BJP National General Secretary, Ram Madhav in Gulmarg, who, interestingly, a day after said that he wants the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to become conducive for normal political activity to resume.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, senior Congress leader and former MLA Bandipora Usman Majeed resigned from the party to join hands with Bukhari.
Besides Usman, Bukhari’s team, so far, includes former MLA Ghulam Hassan Mir, and former PDP leaders Dilwar Mir, Javaid Beigh, Noor Muhammad Shiekh, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Abdul Majeed Paddar, and Abdul Raheem Rather.
The buzz of a ‘third front’ was further confirmed when in January these former MLAs met Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu and envoys of 15 countries during the latter’s visit to Kashmir.
Bukhari said his party will differentiate itself from the mainstream parties through its “agenda of working to solve the issues of people”.
“After August 5, people lost their hopes as economy, development took a back seat. Our party will raise issues like providing domicile rights over land and jobs, releasing of political leadership from detention, protecting J&K Bank’s autonomy,” he said.
“We are not hereditary politicians but common people. Apni Party is a party run by common people for common people. When we thought of its name, we considered interests of all the regions,” he said.
Congress leader Majeed also confirmed his association with Bukhari and said they are going to work together “for betterment of people.”
“Yes, I have resigned from Congress as the party has a specific agenda which is no different from that of BJP. I just needed a free space to work for the betterment of people and decided to quit the party. We are many former MLAs who are with Altaf Sahab,” he said.
Usman quits Cong to join Bukhari
Srinagar, Feb 23: Congress leader and former Bandipora legislator Usman Abdul Majid Sunday announced his resignation from the party.
Usman is one of the nearly two dozen leaders who have joined hands to structure a new political podium in Jammu and Kashmir led by former minister Altaf Bukhari, which would likely be formed in the first week of March.
Usman has announced his resignation during a convention in Bandipora on Sunday.
“Yes, I am resigning from the party because Congress is no different agenda as it has its own particular agenda. I want to work freely for my people,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
Asked if he was joining Altaf’s upcoming party, Usman said: “Yes I am with Altaf Sa’ab.”
Usman said that he will send his resignation to the party on Monday.
Addressing the convention, Usman lashed out at Congress saying it was is “because of it that the people of Kashmir have been suffering from last 70-years.”
“This party is behind the sufferings of Kashmir people,” he said.
Referring to Altaf Bukhari’s ‘Apni Party, Usman said the new party will be floated very soon.
“Regional parties including National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party misled people here over self-rule and autonomy. People in Kashmir are suffering because of their misdeeds,” he said.
He accused Congress of ‘double speak’ and claimed the party leadership was never sincere to the people of the Jammu and Kashmir.
“They would speak one language in Delhi, other at Jammu and quite contrasting in Srinagar,” he said.
Usman said like-minded people have already joined hands for the new party.
“The party which is being floated is not backed by BJP. Linking our new regional force with BJP is totally baseless and concocted,” he said.
Want normal political activity to resume: Madhav
Srinagar, Feb 23: BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav on Sunday said that everyone in his party wants the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to become conducive for “normal political activity” to resume.
“Keeping the situation of J&K in mind, the government has invoked certain Sections for the detention of some leaders there. When the situation improves and things normalise, everybody will be allowed to do their political activity. We all want the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to become conducive for normal political activity to resume,” Madhav told ANI.
Ram Madhav’s response comes days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that he was praying for the early release of the three former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir who are currently under detention.
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