Acute power crisis

Government must undertake urgent steps in bolstering power supply to the Kashmir province

Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 14 2017 11:32PM | Updated Date: Nov 14 2017 11:32PM

Jammu & Kashmir state, in particular the Kashmir province, is experiencing one of its worst power crises in recent years. This power crisis has economic, social and even political costs. The economic costs are rather well known - economic productivity gets reduced by several notches, rendering a big blow to efforts of jobs creation in the private sector, growth and development of private industries and capital retention within the state. There are social costs too - often manifesting in stressed psychosocial conditions among the people, a phenomenon even experienced in advanced countries during winters. Energy crisis in Kashmir reinforces political alienation and a sense of deprivation. It is no small matter that at a time when significant progress has been made in J&K’s neighbouring states and beyond in the provision of quality electricity that the state is struggling to meet its basic energy demand. At the core of this crisis is the deficiency of strategic planning, something that has not let the development of the power sector in the state in an integrated manner. While some efforts have been focussed on production, the vital areas of transmission and distribution have remained neglected. While in some areas transmission and distribution systems have been bolstered, the necessary structural reforms in comprehensive accounting of the consumption and revenue generation have not received the kind of attention they deserved. Jammu & Kashmir state’s population is growing, so is the demand for power. Even as the peak demand in Kashmir province during the winter season is around 1700 MW, the per capita consumption is still one of the lowest. One of the inhibiting factors is the existing transmission system that has the capacity to only draw 1250 MW from the Northern Grid. In a series of news stories, this newspaper has highlighted the challenges facing the completion of two critical grid stations in Alasteng and Budgam. Administrative seriousness in making resources available and removing the operational bottlenecks for the completion of the Alasteng and Budgam grid stations would have increased power absorption capacity by an additional 450 MW, taking the load capacity from the existing 1250 MW to 1650 MW. That alone could have helped in overcoming the current crisis to a great extent. It is high time the government take this crisis seriously and undertake urgent steps in bolstering power supply to the Kashmir province.

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