March 2020 News

What Ails The Power Sector In Jammu And Kashmir?

3 March 2020
The Dispatch

Srinagar: With the identified potential of generating hydropower of 20,000 Mega Watt, the Jammu and Kashmir has the possibility to become self power-reliant but due to casual approach adopted by Power Development Department (PDD) to curb power theft and recover bill plunge the Union Territory into financial crises every year. Although to generate more power and to make J&K self power-reliant, many projects have been initiated in the last seven years but all these are under construction. It is pertinent to mention here that the Union Ministry of Power has decided to pay Rs 2295 Crore to power generating Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSU) for clearing dues of Jammu and Kashmir's power utilities pending before its official bifurcation into two Union Territories and restructuring power sector. The Union government on August 5 decided to bifurcate erstwhile state Jammu & Kashmir in two Union Territories (UTs) of J&K and Ladakh, which came into existence on October 31. Moreover, J&K's State Administrative Council (SAC) on October 25 approves restructuring of PDD, JKSPDCL, JKSPTCL for implementation of Power sector reforms between both UTs. The whopping amount of Rs 2295.39 crores was outstanding till August 31. The majority of dues are pending with Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD). Out of the total outstanding dues to CPSU, JKPDD owes Rs 1530.92 crores while Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (JKPDCL) owes Rs 764.47 crore. The said dues also included the bills of power purchased for Ladakh region, which is carved out from J&K and created a separate Union Territory. There were claims too made in the past that Jammu and Kashmir would be self-sufficient in power generation by 2012 and even earlier but that could not become a reality due to host of reasons. People in the district Jammu consume the power of worth Rs 650 crore every month. Out of the total consumption, the department face loses of Rs 135 crore every month as people manage pilferage power illegally. Despite several initiatives by PDD to curb the illegal power pilferage but it is still going on unabated particularly in rural areas. 'The practice is still going on due to the causal approach adopted by the enforcement wing of PDD. In district Jammu mohallas, the main wires of electricity are seen attached with illegal hooking,' an official said, wishing not to be named. Ironically, the department also formed teams last month to curb electricity theft but the teams were failed to take appropriate action against the power pilferage. Hardly 30 per cent of the people are submitting bills every month in Jammu, while rest 70 per cent is pilling-up. The city has more than six lakh electricity connections. 'Every month instead of six crores, Rs 1 or 2 crores deposited in the government treasury,' an official said. Recently, Union Minister of State R K Singh said Central government is aiming to provide round the clock electricity supply to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir He said that sufficient power is available in the country but J&K needs to address the issue by putting in place an adequate transmission and distribution system. He directed the concerned officers to prepare a project for capacity addition which could ensure round the clock power supply in the state and submit it to the Centre. The J&K government was advised to request for further release of eligible funds under various schemes like Saubhagya, DDUGJY, IPDS, PMDP etc. He also assured extending the project completion time of Saubhagya till June for completion of the pending work.