Srinagar, Jan 07: Lengthy and unscheduled power cuts result in heavy losses to the cold storage owners in the valley.
Lengthy power cuts, which oftentimes go up to nine hours at a stretch, compel the owners of the major stores to use diesel generators, the owners said.
While 16 of the major cold storages in the valley are at Lassipora, Pulwama, three of them are in north Kashmir’s apple-town Sopore, they said.
President Cold Storage Owners Association, Majid Wafai, said the 6-hour curtailment could be less harmful if executed in intervals.
To compensate for the lengthy power cuts, several cold storage owners said they have been forced to burn an average “35-44 litres of diesel per hour”.
They said they have been relying on generators since November.
Going by the current price of diesel, the owners claim to be spending Rs 3,000 an hour on electricity.
“For 5,000-MT storage, the expenses are around Rs 7,000 per hour. How can we manage it?” an owner asked.
“You can imagine the cost of electricity for six hours. It is huge. To add to that the diesel prices have already gone up, while the cost of machine maintenance has also surged. And then there is GST.”
Besides keeping low the temperatures, they also have to regulate the level of carbon dioxide and oxygen inside the storages, the owner said.
“To retain quality of the fruits, we need to ensure that our machinery is running round the clock. We cannot give it a rest,” he said.
There was no choice for the owners but to run the heavy and expensive DG sets, the owners said.
“We cannot take the risk of the produce getting spoilt. We don’t have a choice,” a storage owner said.