With LPG Scarce, Valley Up For Power Woes

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Observer News Service
Srinagar, Oct 30: The sharp fall in the discharge of various rivers over recent weeks has brought down the generation from state-owned hydroelectric plants even as the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation continues to bleed the state’s water resources to the hilt, courtesy its successive governments, including the incumbent National Conference-Congress combine. As expected, the Kashmir valley will have to bear the brunt.

With the onset of winter, earlier than expected, and the LPG cap taking its toll, the valley is up for a massive crisis in the days to come while the state rulers and their top courtiers are on their way to cozier Jammu retreat. A scheduled power curtailment for non-metered areas and unscheduled cut for metered localities is already in force to fuel public anger against the ruling dispensation, if reports were to be believed.

Quoting Power Development Department sources, reports said generation from various state-owned power houses, including Baglihar-I, had fallen by about 50 per cent during the past fortnight. From 450 megawatts during summer, the generation from the Baglihar project fell to 240 mw during day and about over 300 mw during night, they said, adding it was 66 lakh units a day against the capacity 100 lakh units.

Sources said the river discharge was likely to fall further. Because of this, the authorities may take the option of operating only one of the three turbines at the Baglihar project. The situation in other facilities is no different. “The valley-based power projects produce 19 lakh units against 26 lakh units a day while those in Jammu region generate 2.5 lakh units against five lakh units a day,” they said.

In the days to come, sources said, the PDD authorities would have to find ways and means to bridge the yawning gap between the demand which keeps shooting up during winter and the availability. Although it has the gas turbines built at suburban Pampore at no mean cost, its prohibitive cost of operation could be a headache for them. How the state government tides over the impending crisis only time would tell.

Meanwhile, the union ministry of forest and environment is understood to have cleared Baglihar-II power project for execution at a cost of over Rs 3,100 crore. While the Power Finance Corporation is likely to provide Rs 1,679.23 crore for it, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank is expected to chip in with Rs 500 crore. The project is likely to be completed in 2015-16. The first 150-mw unit is likely to go critical in June 2015, sources would have us believe.

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