extremely acute electricity supply situation is hitting
businesses, common people and those connected with the tourism
industry in the Kashmir Valley.
Authorities, however, assert that they are doing their very best
to improve the scenario.
"I run a provision store in a metered area of the city where the
government is committed to ensuring uninterrupted electricity
supply. Instead of getting electricity for at least 12 hours, we
are receiving erratic power supply, often for not more than four
hours. How can I run my business like this? We are on the verge of
closure," said Khalid, a Srinagar shopkeeper.
Shuja, member of a federation of traders in the valley, says:
"This is so frustrating. The government had better do something
about the electricity supply situation, or we will be left with
little to do but hit the streets in protest."
Bashir Ahmad, a local houseboat owner, said the peak season for
the houseboats has started, but if power supply to the boats is
curtailed, the situation will be difficult. "We are forced to run
electric power generators and sometimes use candles in the night.
Tourists complain, but what can we do?" Ahmad asks.
The power situation affects not only businessmen and tourists, but
also common people.
And this, despite having paid bills in advance this time, until
the end of March 2013.
"We have paid all electricity dues in advance, up to the end of
March (2013). Despite that, we do not receive sufficient power
supply. The authorities said during the winter months that
curtailments and shutdowns had become necessary because of the low
water discharge in the valley's rivers. All electricity projects
here are hydro based," said Parvaiz Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar.
Ahmad, however, added that with the improvement of the weather,
the discharge in the rivers has increased. "But authorities are
still continuing with winter schedules of power supply," he said.
A senior official of the electricity department told IANS that the
total generation in the state-owned power projects in Kashmir
stood at just 150 megawatts.
"We need around 1,200 megawatts to do away with the present
curtailment schedule. On an average, we import around 1,100
megawatts daily, but sometimes there is a shortfall in our imports
due to various problems. That results in an adverse scenario," he
"We are sure to stabilize the situation within the next few days
and the power supply would improve generally throughout the
valley", the official said.
State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been pitching for the
transferring to the state the three major power projects, namely
Salal, Dulhasti and Uri projects, owned by the National Hydel
Power Projects Corporation (NHPC).
The NHPC authorities have so far refused to transfer these
projects, which run on Jammu and Kashmir rivers, to the state's
The state is, however, entitled to receive 15 percent of the
generated power from NHPC-owned projects here free of cost, as
Each year, the state spends over Rs.4,000 crore on buying
electricity from other states. The chief minister, who also holds
the power portfolio, has been asserting that continuation of such
a situation could be suicidal for a poor state like Jammu and
The power woes have also given the opposition in the state a stick
to beat the National Conference-Congress coalition government
People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti told
reporters recently: "It is an insensitive administration that does
not bother about the problems of the people. People are blocking
roads and staging protests at various places against the failure
of the government to supply them electricity, but the government
is least concerned."
Locally, there are protest gatherings that are popularly called
"power protests". Police have been intervening on a regular basis
to disperse crowds that gather to protest electricity shortages
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