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Power out, PDD clueless

We are also worried; will soon come out with uniform curtailment schedule: Chief PDD

Firdous Hassan




Srinagar, Nov 13: More than a week after a massive snowfall disrupted essential services in Kashmir, electricity outages continue to be major issue in both urban and rural areas in the valley even as the Power Development Department (PDD) is yet to devise any uniform curtailment schedule.

The situation continues in contrast to Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam directing the PDD last month to ensure the valley does not face any electricity issues

Central, South and North Kashmir areas including several localities of the summer capital are reeling under darkness with PDD resorting to unannounced power cuts in both metered and non-metered areas.


“For over a week now, we have witnessed electricity outages for more than six hours every day particularly during evening and night hours. The help line numbers provided by PDD are not functioning,” said Zubair Ahmed, a resident of Mehjoor Nagar area of Srinagar.

Similar complaints were reported from Natipora, Padshahi Bagh, Nowgam, Chanapora, and Baghi Mehtab areas of the city.

In Downtown, areas including Karfalli Mohalla, Fateh Kadal, Habba Kadal, interiors of Khanyar, Saida Kadal, Baba Demb, Khayam too reported power outages between three to six hours every day.

A similar situation continues to prevail in the townships of all four districts of south Kashmir thus making it obvious that the situation in the rural peripheries of these districts is even worse.

Almost on a daily basis, reports of people holding protests against the power vows come from different areas of the valley.

A complete shutdown was observed on Tuesday in Tral area of Pulwama district against the power outages in the area.

Hundreds of people took to streets and shouted slogans against the PDD. The protesters also staged massive protests at main market Tral and complained against unscheduled and long power cuts that they have been facing for last two weeks.

Similar protests were held in Chadoora, Beerwah, Rafiabad, Kadipora, a couple of villages in Shopian and Kulgam on Tuesday against the power woes.

“There will be no major improvement in prevailing electricity crisis across Kashmir Valley. Like past years, this time as well, we are short of supply while the consumption is much higher,” sources in PDD said.

The situation has compelled the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission issuing a notice to Chief Engineer PDD for resorting to unscheduled power cuts both in metered and non-metered areas and for irregular power supply.

The SHRC has sought a report from the Chief Engineer within a week’s time to explain why power cuts are effected even without a notice.

A complaint received by the commission said that as the winter season has begun and with the recent snowfall the PDD has started unscheduled and irregular power cuts in metered and non-metered areas in whole of Kashmir.

The complaint added that due to the unscheduled power cuts people, particularly students, were facing immense hardships in cold days and nights.

Chief Engineer PDD Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi told The Kashmir Monitor that the department was yet to come up with any uniformed curtail schedule

“Currently we do not have a uniformed schedule, however, we are working on devising it. We too are worried about the issues faced by people due to power outages,” he said.



Lead Stories

JK’s liability swells

Mudassir Kuloo



Srinagar, Jan 17: Similar to previous years, Jammu and Kashmir has accrued a liability of over Rs 7,000 crore in the ongoing fiscal even as experts blame state’s political leadership for not finding a solution to the issue.

Official documents of the finance department reveal that the state is running a liability of Rs 7,531 crore so far this fiscal, a figure close to the annual build-up J&K witnesses every year.

The total liabilities for the state have now swelled up to over Rs 68,000 crore.“The three fiscal parameters–revenue deficit, fiscal deficit and outstanding liability–indicate the extent of overall fiscal balance in the finances of the state government during the specified period. The nature of deficit is an indicator of the prudence of budgetary policy of the state government. Another useful measure of the deficit-base in a state’s fiscal policy is the State’s Own Deficit (SOD),” the documents reveal.


Noted economist, Professor Nisar Ali said the state’s expenditure and revenue system has been “mismanaged”.“The power purchase has been an important factor for swelling liabilities. The GST has further increased the mismanagement between expenditure and tax revenue,” he said.

Prof Ali also blamed J&K’s political leadership for increasing liabilities.“The annual liabilities increase due to power purchases despite the state having huge hydro resources. The state’s leadership has failed to fight for the return of power projects.

“It also depends upon the government of India how it wants to find a solution to this problem,” he added.

Endorsing Prof Ali’s views, a senior official of the finance department said that little or no use of revenue generation avenues, increasing power purchases and bulging expenditure on salaries are the main contributors to the escalating liabilities of the state.“There is a steep rise in salary and pension bills, power deficit, rising interest liabilities, loan repayments, and deficit on account of non-tax revenue,” the official said.


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Lead Stories

Conducive atmosphere inevitable for dialogue: Farooq



Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) president, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said that the favourable atmosphere is inevitable for dialogue, which is the only way out to settle the issues.
Addressing party workers in Jammu, Dr Farooq said that the dialogue is the only way out to resolve the issues but there is a need of conducive atmosphere which is inevitable. He added that “under the shades of gun, no dialogue process is possible. We have to stop bullet culture for lasting peace in the region.”
“NC has also given priority to the people. When I became Chief Minister in 1996, I fought with many things as the school were shut, no bridge was there, no office was functioning as the people were frightened by the turmoil then, but I stood up to fight against the forces who were inimical to peace.”
About 35 percent reservation in other states, Dr Farooq said that the incumbent Chief Minister of Odissa, Naveen Patnayak has written to him, suggesting there should be reservation of 35 percentfor women in Jammu and Kashmir also. “We will implement the law, which will ensure 35 percent reservation to women in the State once getting into the power,” he said.
However, he said that it is not easy to take such decisions as when his government took a decision to make 50 percent reservation for girls in Medical College then some people knocked the door of Supreme Court to put halt over the decision.
Dr Farooq also appealed the party workers to work hard and ensure the win of NC leaders who will be contesting the elections.

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Lead Stories

Abundant snowfall in January makes Gulmarg the perfect winter-destination for tourists

Bisma Bhat



Srinagar, Jan 17: Unlike last January, the abundant snowfall so far this month has attracted a lot of tourists to Gulmarg as the destination is brimming with over 90 per cent occupancy these days.

The valley has received at least four moderate to heavy snowfalls this year with an even stronger wet spell predicted from January 19 to 23.
Tourists from across the world are cherishing this and making their way to Gulmarg, whose slopes offer a perfect destination for skiing.

Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, CEO Gulmarg Development Authority, Syed Hanief Balkhi said that most of the hotels are fully occupied as people are heading to Gulmarg to enjoy the charismatic scenery offered by the snow-covered hills.“Gulmarg is under 4-5 feet snow and is looking like a playground these days. Tourists from India and abroad enjoy skiing, snow cycling, ice skating, snow-sculptor activity, sledge-racing and other games here,” he said.


Apart from the hoteliers, the rush of the tourists, Balkhi said, has provided good workdays for sledge keepers, skating guides, local cab drivers and many others associated with tourism.

In 2018, as per the official figures, Gulmarg received 5.76 lakh tourists as compared to 5.69 lakh in the preceding year.

The tourism players also expressed satisfaction over the rush of tourists heading to the valley.

President Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, Wahid Malik said that snowfalls have pushed up the number of tourists visiting the valley.
“Gulmarg saw lesser arrival when winters begun, however, now the snow has ensured all the hotels and resorts are booked,” he said adding that Gulmarg hotels are running on 90 per cent occupancy so far this season.

Gulmarg is declared the ‘heartland of winter sports in India’ by the Winter Games Federation. This year too, Gulmarg Tourism Authority is going to organise winter sports carnival starting from the first week of February.

Additional Director Tourism Department, Nasir Khan said that Gulmarg is “rocking these days as it has received 34,712 and 35,022 tourists in the month of November and December”.

“We are going to organize the winter carnival from the next month to make the place more attractive,” he said.

He added that night market and cultural shows will also be arranged by the department.

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January 2019
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