Power starved JK is without Electricity Policy

SRINAGAR: While Jammu and Kashmir is suffering for the want of power, the state has no Electricity Policy that could have helped it in improving the power sector.
J&K is one among the states having vast hydro power potential from where electricity is also being supplied to several parts of India. 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-owned NHPC and other power corporations.
At the same time, the state government has failed to frame Electricity Policy that could have been a ‘road map’ how to improve the power sector.
“Jammu and Kashmir is in a dire need of Electricity Policy as state continues to face power crisis. Last year the government framed draft of Electricity Policy without any implementation,” an official of the Power Development Department said.
In 2010, the then NC-Congress government notified the Jammu and Kashmir Electricity Act following its enactment by the Legislature and approval by the Governor.
The Act stresses for formulation of Electricity Policy and plan for development of power system. The PDD official said that government has shown “least concern” towards the Electricity Policy.
“Last year the government announced that Electricity Policy will be framed and received suggestions from people, which were incorporated in the draft. The draft was also submitted to government but no steps have been initiated for its implementation,” the official added.
An official of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission said the Electricity Policy is necessary to set up a target of power tariff in the next 10-years.
“There shall be a target what will be power tariff after three years and requirement of electricity to the state. The Electricity Policy would have been a roadmap for up-gradation of power infrastructure in the state and also for protection of consumer interests,” the official said.
The government of India in December last year announced an allocation of additional power of 792 MW for Jammu and Kashmir in view of higher demand in winters in the state.
However, people say that there has been no improvement in power supply in the valley. “Had there been the policy, government would know what are the measures have to be taken for upgrading, creation of power infrastructure, and overcoming power shortage during peak hours,” he said.
The policy according to the official is also necessary for generation of hydroelectricity. “Government should know how much it is going to generate electricity in the next five or 10 years,” he added.
The state has a hydroelectricity potential of 20,000 MWs of which around 3000 MWs have been identified so far with NHPC generating 2009 MWs from its seven power projects, which is almost half of the energy, the power giant generates from its projects in other states.
Development Commissioner, PDD, Asgar Ali expressed his ignorance about the policy. “I don’t have any knowledge what happened to its draft,” he said.

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