May 2017 News

Power Scenario Grim In J&K, Only 30 Pc Pay For It: Goyal

4 May 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal today called upon Jammu and Kashmir Government to have a look at the models of Maharashtra and Bihar to improve revenue generation and contain Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses. He asked the State to take on its own the proposal for providing free electricity (up to 30 units per month) to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. The decisions were taken at the end of two-day conference of State Power Ministers chaired by Goyal in New Delhi. Sources told the Excelsior that a survey of all States conducted by the Union Power Ministry revealed that billing of electricity was just 47 per cent in Jammu and Kashmir. And out of 47 per cent consumers billed, only 64 per cent were making payments of power consumed by them. 'This was very grim scenario,' Goyal was reported to have remarked. However, sources said, the previous State Governments hadn't taken any initiatives to bring reforms in power sector while present PDP-BJP Government has taken certain measures to bring AT&C losses under control and improve revenue generation. Asserting that just 47 per cent billing in Jammu and Kashmir was lowest among all the States, sources said the Union Power Ministry wanted it to be improved drastically to improve revenue generation in power sector in the State. Surprisingly, out of 47 per cent consumers billed, only 64 per cent of them were paying revenue, which means that only 30 per cent power customers in J&K make payment for the electricity consumed by them. Deputy Chief Minister, Incharge Power Development Department, Dr Nirmal Singh and Commissioner-Secretary Power Dheeraj Gupta represented the J&K delegation in the meeting. Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Shakti Pathak was also present. On Jammu and Kashmir proposal to provide free electricity to BPL families up to 30 units, sources said Piyush Goyal wanted it to be implemented by the State on its own. Under the proposal, Jammu and Kashmir wants to supply 30 units of power per month to the BPL families free of cost. The proposal is being deliberated upon at the Government level and could soon become a reality, sources said. Sources said the Union Power Minister wanted Jammu and Kashmir to have a look at the models of Maharashtra and Bihar for power supply during peak hours. He said that peak consumption of Maharashtra was 23,000 MW as against just 2200 MW of Jammu and Kashmir i.e. less than one-tenth but still the State was not able to meet the peak demand. Even Uttar Pradesh, which was almost double in area than Maharashtra was able to supply just 15,000 MW electricity during the peak demand, which showed the progress achieved by Maharashtra on this front. The Union Power explained to all States including Jammu and Kashmir that electricity supply cost per unit should in no case exceed Rs 3.15 as the Power Ministry after a detailed study has observed that power supply won't cost more than this even for the next 25 years and all Governments should take steps to maintain supply cost at this level. The Power Minister suggested to the State Government to reduce slabs of electricity charges in all categories like domestic, institutions, commercial, industrial sector and agriculture etc. It was observed that the more is the number of slabs, the more there will be chances of corruption. Piyush Goyal reiterated the deadline of December 2018 for 'Power For All' scheme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and directed all States including Jammu and Kashmir to ensure that it was implemented well on time. The progress of Jammu and Kashmir under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes in power sector including R-APDRP came up for appreciation by the Union Power Minister at the meeting of all States, sources said. In his address, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh listed the series of reforms undertaken by the State Government to improve power supply, revenue and generation and achieves the targets under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes including 'Power For All'.