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Power crisis turns darker, no respite expected

Srinagar, Dec 26: Amid the harsh cold, Kashmir is facing a severe power shortage, making life difficult for the people.

For the last one week or so, the Valley is freezing in sub-zero temperatures.

In such a situation, the ongoing severe power shortage is adding more to people’s woes.

“We get 8-hour power supply during the day. We don’t know when the electricity will go off. We have to perform ablution with cold water amid freezing temperature,” said Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Habak, a metered area in Srinagar.

Ali Mohammad, a resident of main town Ganderbal said people even protested against the abrupt power cuts but to no avail.

“There are at least 20 power cuts of around 12-hours in a day. Every year, we are assured of better power supply but the situation instead worsens,” he said.

He said that Power Development Department was not even adhering to its own curtailment schedule.

The electricity department issued notices on scheduled power cuts meant to be six hours for metered areas in Srinagar, Budgam, and Ganderbal and nine to 12 hours in non-metered areas.

However, even Srinagar’ commercial hub, Lal Chowk,has been getting only few hours of power for the last two days.

“On Tuesday, electricity remained off from morning till 4 pm. Even on Wednesday, the power was off till 3 pm,” Fayaz Ahmad, a shopkeeper at Regal Chowk, said.

The worst affected are the Old City’s non-metered areas: Fatehkadal, Safakadal, Eidgah, which face around 10-15 hours of power cuts.

“There is no power schedule in our area. Electricity goes off at any time during the day,” Samir Ahmad, a resident of Eidgah, said.

Almost on a daily basis, reports of people holding protests against the power woes are reported from different areas of the valley.

People of Baramulla also took to the streets against the power cuts.

“We are facing acute power cuts for the last two weeks,” said a resident of main town Baramulla.

The power scenario is even worse in south Kashmir.

“We rarely get power during the evening hours. We have been facing the worst power crisis during the last one month,” Sajad Ahmad, a resident of Shopian, said.

In south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, consumers of Dialgam, Kadipora, Mattan, and Main Town have complained that they face unscheduled powercuts.

Chief Engineer, Power Development Department, Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi, admitted that there was a problem in Habak and Zakura areas.

“Rest areas get electricity as per the schedule,” he claimed while blaming overloading by consumers.

“Sometimes electricity remains off in some areas due to replacement or maintenance of any transformer,” he added.

Qazi said that Kashmir was short of around 900 MWs of electricity.

“We have 1300 MWs power available that is being provided to people against the requirement of 2200 MWs. The Alasteng grid station will be commissioned very soon and will increase the power availability to 1550 MWs,” he added.