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Uncertainty in Kashmir: No company ready to take up power reforms project

Mudassir Kuloo





Srinagar, Dec 18:  Uncertainty has severely hit much awaited power reforms project as private companies have expressed reluctance to work in Kashmir.

Under ‘Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Program (R-APDRP)’ scheme, the government had invited tenders from private players for augmenting power infrastructure and reducing transmission and distribution losses.

The project was allotted to Kolkatta based company in 2014 and the company was asked to complete the project in two years. Despite giving two year extension, the company failed to complete the task and with the result the government terminated their contract. 


For the last one year, the PDD had invited tenders twice but no company showed any interest in the project. “It is a major setback that no company is coming forward to work on the project citing uncertainty in Kashmir. One of the companies told us that it is not possible to work on this project under present circumstances,” said an official of Power Development Department.

Under Rs 662 Crore project, the government intended to install new transformers, new cables and poles, and build necessary infrastructure to bring down transmission and distribution (T&D) losses to 20 percent from present 50 percent.

Kashmir is facing huge power crisis this winter. The electricity scenario deteriorates during winter months when the power demand reaches over 2000 MWs against the availability of 1200 MWs.

“We provide 1200 MWs of electricity to consumers in Kashmir and the demand during winter months reaches to 2000 MWs. Like the previous years, there won’t be any improvement in the power supply as Kashmir lacks required infrastructure like transformers and grids,” said a senior official of the Power Development Department.


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Prepaid mobile services restored in JK

Monitor News Bureau



Jammu, Jan 18: Voice and SMS facility on all local pre-paid sim cards across the Union Territory of J&K shall be restored today.

This was stated by the Principal Secretary Planning, Rohit Kansal, who is also the Government Spokesperson at a press conference held, here today.

Giving details of the decisions taken by the Government for further enhancement in access and communication facilities in the Union Territory of J&K, Rohit Kansal said, that the companies that are engaged in Software (IT/ITES) Services shall be provided with fixed line internet connectivity by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs- BSNL/Private Service Providers) with the precautions as already directed as per the order issued by the Home Department in the last week.


He further announced that 2G mobile data services on the post-paid mobiles for accessing white-listed sites now, shall be allowed in all the 10 districts of Jammu division. The 2G mobile internet shall also be restored in the revenue districts of Kupwara & Bandipora of Kashmir Valley, he added. The mobile internet connectivity shall, however, remain suspended in the districts of Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama, he added.

With regard to the details of the white listed companies, the Principal Secretary said that the competent authority has released a list of all 153 websites that have been identified as white list category and can be accessed through 2G mobile data services.

Rohit Kansal informed the media persons that to consider provision of mobile internet connectivity on pre-paid sim cards, the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) shall initiate the process for verification of credentials of these subscribers as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections.

The telecom operators are being issued instructions to operationalize the above directions immediately providing for all the safeguards detailed in the order issued by the competent authority, he added.

Pertinently, the Government had ordered restoration of 2G mobile data services on the post-paid mobiles for accessing white-listed sites in the five districts of Jammu division including Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi on January 15, 2020.

Rohit Kansal further reiterated that the overall effort of the Government shall be to facilitate and to keep restrictions to the bare minimum based on the ground situation.

Internet services, landline and mobile phones were snapped across Jammu and Kashmir on the eve of Centre’s announcement to scrap special status of the erstwhile state and its bifurcation into Union Territories on August 5.

While most of the services except mobile internet were restored in Jammu within a week, Kashmir witnessed restoration of landlines and postpaid mobile services and internet facilities to essential services like hospitals in phases.

“After a careful review, the competent authority has ordered today (Saturday) that voice and SMS facility shall be restored on all local prepaid SIM cards across the Union Territory of J&K.

“Further in order to consider, provision of mobile internet connectivity on such SIM cards, the telecom service providers shall initiate the process of verification of credentials for thesesubscribers as per available norms for postpaid subscribers,” Kansal, who is the official spokesperson of the government, said.

On January 10, the Supreme Court came down heavily on the UT administration for arbitrarily shutting down the internet, the facility described as a fundamental right by the apex court.

Referring to the January 14 order when the government announced partial restoration of 2G services in five of the 10 districts of Jammu and broadband facilities for essential services including banks, government offices, trade, tourism and travel establishments, Kansal said the overall effort is to keep the restrictions to bare minimum based on the ground situation.

As per the order issued by Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra “the directions would be effective from Saturday and remain in force till January 24, unless modified earlier.

“Assessment of the overall security scenario in the UT of J and K pursuant to directions on January 14 relating to the regulation of telecom services does not indicate any immediate adverse impact in the areas where internet access was provided,” the order read.

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Spread message of development in JK: PM tells union ministers

Press Trust of India



New Delhi, Jan 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told the group of union ministers visiting Jammu and Kashmir to spread the message of development among the people not only in the urban areas but also in the villages of the Valley, sources said.

As part of a massive outreach programme, 36 central ministers will visit Jammu and Kashmir starting from Saturday.

At a meeting of the Council of Ministers here, the prime minister asked the ministers to spread the message of development during their interaction with the locals, the sources said.


They were also asked to spread the message about the various central schemes which will benefit at the grass-roots level.

He said the ministers should not restrict themselves to the urban areas but meet people in villages also to inform about the developmental work carried out by the central government in Jammu and Kashmir.

The 36 Union ministers will visit different districts in both the divisions of the Union Territory starting from January 18 to January 24 and the home ministry is coordinating it.

Central ministers’ J&K public outreach begins


Srinagar, Jan 18: After a brief disruption due to bad weather, a group of three union ministers continued with their public outreach programme in Jammu and Kashmir.

In the morning, the flight could not land in Jammu due to bad weather and was diverted to Srinagar. But in the afternoon, the group of ministers headed back to Jammu.

On Saturday, Union minister Jitender Singh visited Jammu city, Arjun Ram Meghwal went to Samba parmandal and Ashwini Choubey to Samba chachwal.

A group of 36 ministers begin their week-long public outreach programme in Jammu and Kashmir starting Saturday. Over the next one week, Union ministers Smriti Irani, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Arjun Ram Meghwal, G. Muralidharan, Anurag Thakur, Piyush Goyal, Aswini Choubey, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, G. Krishnan Reddy, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will be visiting the union territory.

“The 36 ministers will visit 60 locations across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” said government spokesman Rohit Kansal at a press conference in Jammu.

The ministers will hold public meetings at panchayat and block levels and inform the people about various schemes launched by the Centre particularly after the abrogation of Article 370 and how those programmes and schemes will benefit the people.

Scheduled for January 18 to 24, the visit by 38 ministers to the newly formed UT was aimed at spreading words about the government’s policies, particularly those taken in the last five months after the abrogation of Article 370.

According to government sources, there will be 51 visits to Jammu and eight to Srinagar.

Meghwal was scheduled to visit Samba’s Puramandal area, Choubey Samba’s Chajjwal and Singh Jammu city. They were to hold meet work

On Sunday, Smriti Irani will visit Katra and Panthal areas in Reasi district while her cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal will be in Jammu’s Akhnoor region, Mahendra Nath Pandey in Jammu’s Dansal, Meghwal in Kathua’s Basholi and V. Muraleedharan in Kathua’s Bilawar.

On January 20, Union Minister General V.K. Singh (retired) will visit Udhampur’s Tikri region while Pratap Sarangi will be Kathua’s Ramkoat region and R.K. Singh in Doda’s Ghat region. On the same day, Debashree Choudary will be in Marh region in Jammu.

On January 21, Kiren Rijiju will visit Jammu’s Suchetgarh, Kishan Pal Singh Gujjar will be in Poonch’s Mandi and Gen V.K. Singh in Udhampur’s Chenani.

On the same day, Nitin Gadkari will be in Rajouri district, Kailash Choudary in Samba’s Vijaypur, Sarangi in Kathua, Gajendra Singh Sekhawat in Kathua’s Hiranagar, Anurag Thakur in Jammu’s Khour, Arjun Munda in Raesi’s Pouni, Hardeep Singh Puri in Rajaouri’s Sunderbani, while Thawar Chand Gehlot will be in Poonch’s Surankote region.

Sanjay Dhotre will be in Rajaouri’s Kalakote and Santosh Kumar will visit Ramban’s Batote region.

On January 22, Union Minister Purushottam Rupala will be in Jammu’s RS Pura, Gujjar in Poonch, Prahalad Singh Patel in Udhampur’s Ramnagar, Chaudary in Samba’s Cakrambagh, Sekhawat in Kathua’s Barnoti, and Patel in Udhampur’s Majalta region.

On the same day, Renuka Singh will visit Udhampur’s Khoon region, Munda will be in Raesi’s Arnas, Som Prakash will be in Jammu’s Bhalwal, Thawar Chand Gehlot in Poonch’s Balakote, Sanjay Dhotre in Rajouri’s Nowshera, Gangwar in Ramban’s Chanderkote, Faggan Singh Kulaste in Poonch and Rao Saheb Patil Danve in Rajopuri’s Manjakote.

On January 23, Rupala will be visiting Jammu’s Miran Sahib region, while Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti will be visiting Raesi’s Bhomag. Suresh C Angadi will be in Jammu’s Bishnah and Som Prakash in Raesi’s Thakrakot.

On the same day, Kulaste will be visiting Poonch’s Mankote and Rameshwar Teli will be visiting Ramban district headquarters.

On January 24, Prahlad Joshi will visit Rajaouri’s Kotranka while Giriraj Singh will be in Udhampur’s Chenani.

This will be the second round of visit to Jammu and Kashmir by Union ministers after the abrogation of Article 370 which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier this month, in one of the meetings of the Council of Ministers, a presentation was made on the development initiatives taken by the Centre following the imposition of Governor’s rule in the region.

Only Modi could have scrapped Art 370: Jitendra Singh


Jammu, Jan 18: Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said that India had to wait for long for scrapping the Article 370 of the Constitution as even god willed that only a great man like Prime Minister Narendra Modi must “undertake such a pious initiative.” “Perhaps we had to wait for so long (for the scrapping of Article 370) because even God willed that a great man like Prime Minister Narendra Modi must undertake this pious initiative),” said Singh in his address to a gathering here.

Singh is the part of a delegation of Union Ministers visiting Jammu and Kashmir to interact with the people of different districts and educate them on various issues including the development work since the imposition of the President’s Rule from June 2018 and after the re-organisation of Jammu and Kashmir in last August. Singh said that the year 2019 proved to be historic for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and will pave way for the development of the region.

“2019 was a historic year for India as a whole, a year which gave India a new dimension, a renewed confidence. 2019 was a year of redemption,” he said. Singh’s address was aimed at — what the officials said — disseminating information about the importance of the Centre’s policies for the overall development of the Union Territory and its people along with the steps taken by the government, particularly in the last five months after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile State.

The Union Minister said that the decision to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories was taken by the Centre “with due diligence and research.”

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Penal action, huge fines proposed:Govt goes hammer and tongs against power thieves

Mudassir Kuloo



Srinagar, Jan 17: Beware consumers! If you are caught stealing power, you may have to face penal action and shell-out huge fines.

Official documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, has directed all district development commissioners, Managing Director and chief engineers of J&K State Power Trading Corporation Limited (JKSPTC) to activate inspection teams and task force to curb the menace of power theft.

“DCs, SSPs of all districts shall provide necessary magistrates and police personnel along with lady constables to the enforcement teams and task force teams. The violators shall be booked under relevant rules,” read the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir directives.


An official at Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir office, said government has told JKSPTC that it should generate its own resources and not remain dependent on the financial support.

“As PDD has been reconstituted into JKSPTC, it has to create its own revenue model. Stopping power theft is one of the measures that will make JKSPTC viable,” he said.

The official said that JKSPTC has sought police protection for its field staff to stop power thefts. “This issue was raised with higher authorities that JKSPTC can’t go to areas during night hours. Many a times they have to face public wrath,” he said. 

Taking note, government has asked the police department to provide assistance to JKSPTC in stopping power thefts in Kashmir.

Past experience shows that fines have not deterred people from stealing power and therefore government has decided to act tough to curb the menace. “So it has been decided to file cases against those who often resort to power thefts,” he said.

The department has formed various teams to conduct inspections during nights in order to stop pilferage. “All those who resort to power pilferage will be heavily fined. Besides FIRs will also be lodged where power theft grossly take place,” the official said.

Officially there is an agreement of 800 megawatts, but the demand reaches 2000 megawatts during winters.

“We owe money to National Hydro Electric Power Corporation and J&K Power Development Corporation.  Each year, there is around Rs 3000 crore revenue gap. Therefore government has directed JKSPTC to stop power thefts,” the official said.

Another top official said JKSPTC may borrow loans from banks to clear liabilities. “The Corporation is no more longer dependent on exchequer. It has to create its own resources,” he said.

He said there is also a liability of Rs 26 crores of private entrepreneurs on account of repairs of transformers.

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