December 2005 News

Army provides power to remote J-K villages

20 December 2005
The Indian Express
Mir Ehsan

Srinagar: After quake relief operations, Army is helping people tide over power shortage in Kashmir. The Army is providing power generated from 300 mini-hydro projects to thousands of people in remote villages in Uri, Tangdhar, Kupwara and Bandipore. As many as 85 villages not included in the conventional electrification grid now receive round- the-clock power. The Army plans to commission around 1,000 mini-hydel projects in the northern region of the country. In Kashmir alone, survey for 500 projects have been completed. Deputy Director of Army’s Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Brig S M Mehta says the scheme involving micro-hydel projects would benefit thousands of poor people in villages of the Valley. ‘‘Work and survey of several projects is in progress. This year, we have completed 65 mini-hydel projects,’ he says. ‘‘Local formations and units are identifying areas for these projects.’’ Advertisement Mehta says militancy and tough terrain deprived many areas in Kashmir of electricity. ‘‘These projects will raise the living standards of villagers in remote pockets of Kashmir,’’ he says. Designed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, these projects are managed by the Army’s Electronic and Mechanical Services based at 15 Core headquarters. Each project has a capacity of generating 5 and 10 KW and the cost of each is Rs 3-5 lakh. ‘‘The technology used is simple, easily maintainable and cost- effective,’’ says Mehta. The projects are sponsored by Operation Sadhbavana, Border Area Development Plan (BADP) and Ministry of Non-Conventional Engineering Services (MNCES). ‘‘MNCES is funding 203 projects, 197 projects are getting the finance under BADP scheme and the remaining 150 projects through Operation Sadhbavana,’’ he says. Army is also getting electric wires fixed in houses. ‘‘We have also distributed free energy saver lamps to households,’’ he says. ‘‘Majority of the projects has been set up in militant-infested villages,’’ says Colonel A Kumar, Additional Director Electronics and Mechanical Engineers. ‘‘After explaining precautions, these projects were handed over to local youths for management,’’ he adds.


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