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Power Woes: Kashmir doesn’t have infrastructure to acquire more electricity

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Nov 8: The additional power to meet the electricity demand in the valley during winters will have a little or no impact owing to the lack of required infrastructure.
The government of India annually announces an allocation of additional power for Jammu and Kashmir in view of higher demand in winters in the state.
This season, too, it has assured the state of additional electricity to meet the demand during the winter.
However, with the lack of grid capacity, the annual exercise has no significant impact on ground, an official of the Power Development Department (PDD) said.
“The PDD fails to meet crippling power demand of Valleyites especially in the winter season,” the official said.
The official said the additional allocation of power would end power crisis only when the required infrastructure was in place.
“The additional allocation of power would help the state only if our grid capacity would have been enhanced,” said a Superintending Engineer (SE) of the PDD, wishing not to be quoted by name.
“If the centre allocates more power, do the state has required infrastructure to handle it?”
To make the matters worse, the delaying in completion of projects has further aggravated the problem.
One such project is Alastang grid station, on which work was started eight years before. The project has not been completed, which could have upgraded the power scenario in Kashmir.
The work on Alastang grid station was started in 2010 for transmission of electricity to Ganderbal district.
However, least work has been done on the project over the years.
Another official of the PDD said there was an immense load on Pampore and Zainakote power grids, from where the electricity is being supplied to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.
“The two power grids face overloading resulting in frequent power cuts in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts. Presently, the Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station and remains overloaded,” the official said.
“Had the Alastang grid station been completed, it would have reduced load on two existing power grids and helped the state to upgrade the power supply in the valley,” the official said.
Chief Engineer, Power Development Department, Hashmat Qazi accepted the lack of grid capacity for the seasonal power slump.
“As of now, we are all looking forward to Alastang grid and planning it to get functional. After it gets established, we can bring back all the required electricity. A part of it will get commissioned on 30th of November.”
“The Leh line is getting connected to it for the first time and on 31st December, 220kv side of the grid will be commissioned. After that, a lot of relief is expected in the valley.”


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Two Al-Badr militants killed in Shopian gunfight

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Srinagar, Nov 18: Two Al Badr militants were killed in a gunfight with the government forces in a village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday morning, police said.
“Based on a credible input about the presence of militants, a cordon and search operation was launched by the state police and forces at the strike of dawn today in Rebban area of Zainapora,” said a police spokesman.
As the search operation was going on, the search party was fired upon by the hiding militants, he said.
“The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.
In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter,” said the spokesman, adding that “incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.”
He appealed to the people not to go to the encounter site as “it can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials.”
Local sources said that the Internet service was suspended in the area during the night. However, the service was restored Sunday morning.
They identified the slain militants as Yawar Wani of Batnoor Pulwama and Nawaz Ahmad of Rebban Shopian — both affiliated with Al Badr militant outfit.
Later, multiple rounds of funeral prayers were held for the slain militants in their respective native places.
Reports said that thousands of people from various areas of the south Kashmir attended the funeral prayers of two militants.
Reports said that thousand people poured onto streets as the bodies of the duo were lifted, the scenes were poignant amid the chanting of pro-freedom slogans, hailing the “martyrs.”
An eyewitness said that scores of men and women wept bitterly as the bodies were being carried towards its final resting place.
A complete shutdown is being observed in Shopian and its adjoining district Pulwama to mourn the killings.
Reports said that all the shops and other business establishments in both the districts are closed and public traffic is off the roads.

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CRPF man killed in Pulwama attack

Global News Service

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Srinagar, Nov 18: A paramilitary trooper was killed after militants attacked CRPF camp near Railway station Kakpora in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Sunday evening.
Reports said that the militants fired on CRPF camp resulting in injuries to one personal. The injured identified as Head constable Chandrika Prasad
of 183 of D coy was rushed to nearby hospital where he succumbed.
A senior Police officer said the militants fired upon CRPF at Railway station Kakpora, which had arrived yesterday there for election duty.
He also confirmed the death of the trooper.
Meanwhile whole area has been cordoned off to nab the attackers.

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3 dead, 15 injured in grenade attack at Amritsar

Agencies

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Chandigarh, Nov 18: Three people were killed while at least 15 others injured in an explosion at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar’s Rajasansi village in Punjab on Sunday morning.
Nirankari Bhawan is a prayer hall of a religious sect.
“3 dead and 10 injured in the blast at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar’s Rajasansi village,” IG (Border) Surinder Pal Singh Parmar said.
“Out of 250 people who were present in the religious congregation, 3 dead and 15 to 20 injured. As per initial reports, 2 people had come over here who knocked a grenade here,” IG Parmar added.
According to eyewitnesses, two to three bike-borne men carried out the grenade attack who later fled. They were masked.
Following the blast, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called for an emergency meeting.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condemned the incident and said he has asked the state home secretary and senior police officials, including the director general of police, to visit the spot for investigations.
“My heart goes out to victims of the Amritsar bomb blast and their families,” Singh said.
“My government will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each of the dead and free treatment to the injured. Have asked district administration to extend all help.”
Singh did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of Khalistani or Kashmiri militant groups behind the grenade attack.
In a statement issued hours after the incident, the CM, who held a review meeting, said police teams were rushed to raid suspected hideouts of the assailants and multiple teams have begun investigating the various angles to crack the case.
Amarinder said while the state had been hit by a series of cases of targeted attacks since 2015-16, this was the first attempt, in a long time, to disrupt peace through indiscriminate killings.
He added that such incidents only strengthened the belief that Pakistan was continuing with its “nefarious activities to disturb the law and order in the state”.
The CM also said that the preliminary probe had so far revealed that two men, one of them with a flowing beard and both with covered faces, had allegedly forced their way into the hall by brandishing a pistol.
The duo detained the sewadar, lobbed the grenade into the prayer room and fled on a motorcycle.
A crater, which is three inches in diameter, was formed due to the impact of the explosion and is currently being examined by the forensic team. The safety valve of the grenade was also found and is being examined.
Earlier, soon after the blast, Amarinder had ordered the Home Secretary, DG Police, DG Law and Order and DG Intelligence to immediately rush to village Adliwal to supervise the probe.
State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar offered his condolences to the families of those killed. He called the attack “an attempt to disturb peace in Punjab”. “I believe all the security agencies should stay alert and coordinate with each other to maintain peace,” Jakhar added.
Punjab has been on alert following an input that a group of six to seven militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammad are in the state. Zakir Moosa, the commander of a militant group affiliated with the al-Qaeda, is also reportedly hiding in the state.
Last week, four people hijacked a car at gunpoint near Madhopur in Pathankot district. Police in Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala were put on high alert following the incident.

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