December 2017 News

Kashmir Loses 50-MW Power Every Day

14 December 2017
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: While Kashmir continues to reel under worst power crisis for the past two months now, the power development department has failed to repair a damaged transmission tower in Jammu, resulting in loss of at least 50 MW of electricity to the Valley every day. An official said that one of the 220-kv towers of the Kishenpur-Pampore transmission line, which supplies electricity to Kashmir, was damaged during road widening in Surmoil, Udhampur following heavy rainfall in late July. Since then, the official said, the tower hasn't been restored. The Kishenpur-Pampore transmission line supplies power to Pampore power grid which caters to southern part of Kashmir and some areas of central Kashmir. 'This (damaged tower) is now forcing us to resort to prolonged unscheduled cuts because we have to feed Mirbazaar grid from Pampore to share the transmission capacity,' said the official. Another official said that the issue came to fore for the first time in October when the energy load started to increase in Kashmir. Since the issue falls under 'system & operation wing' of the power department Jammu, authorities in Kashmir expressed their helplessness to address it. Because of the disruption, the department now actually supplies only 1120 to 1150 MW electricity to Kashmir against the grid capacity of 1200 MW-though the unrestricted peak demand is around 1900-MW. 'Due to the damaged tower, Srinagar city is also bearing the brunt,' said the official. He said that the matter came up for discussion during a meeting here on December 6 which was chaired by power minister Nirmal Singh to review the power situation in Kashmir. The minister has asked the authorities concerned to complete the repair work within a fortnight. Development commissioner Power, Asgar Ali Majaz, said that the area where the transmission line has suffered damage was 'hilly and non-motorable.' Hence, he said, the machines can't be transported there and the entire work has to be done manually. 'We had hired workforce from outside for repairing the tower but they left the work midway and fled due to tough terrain. We have now employed fresh workforce and the work would be completed in next fortnight,' Majaz assured. But officials in the department said that despite the odds, the repair work shouldn't have taken more than a month. 'Already two deadlines have been missed and there is no guarantee that the tower will be made functional this month also owing to negligence of the department to fix the responsibility,' said a senior official, who wished not to be named as he is not authorised to talk to media. The disruption in the power supply has also taken a toll on industry sector in Kashmir which has been facing cut of two hours each day from 8 pm to 10 pm to compensate the loss. For the past two months, Kashmir is in the midst of acute power crisis owing to large gap in the demand and supply that shoots up during winters. While the department has announced 42-hour cut in non-metered areas and 21-hour cut in metered areas as per a new curtailment schedule, the consumers from both the categories have been facing unscheduled and prolonged power cuts.