Govt’s power consumption data Bizarre: Civil society

SRINAGAR: The official figures about the power consumption and revenue realization has surprised many in Kashmir Valley with traders and civil society contesting the claims of the government that compared to Jammu division, Kashmir division consumes more power and pays less power tariff.

In a written reply sought by Panthers Party member, the  minister in charge power department informed the state assembly that Kashmir region consumed  6854.94 Mega units (MUs) of power while Jammu region consumed 5252.72 (MUs) in 2012-13. The Minister also informed the lower house that in 2011-12 Kashmir region consumed 6136 (MUs) of power while Jammu region consumed only 4266 (MUs).

According to latest official figures in contrast the total power tariff realized by Jammu region was 1005.29 crores while 691.87 was recovered in Kashmir division.

Surprisingly, the official data in December 2013 had shown that despite the “harshest” power curtailment schedule enforced in Kashmir—in both metered and unmetered areas—the PDD generated almost double the revenue in the domestic category in the Valley in comparison to Jammu in the past six years. Besides, the average revenue paid by consumers in Kashmir and average tariff per-consumer-per-month in the Valley was also shown much higher.

Chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance, Muhammad Yasin Khan said that the government has manipulated the latest data while the reality was that Kashmiri people consume less power and pay more. “State Electricity Regulatory Commission has itself admitted that due to frequent power cuts witnessed in Valley, people of Kashmir consume less electricity than the people of Jammu. In a planned way, government in order to appease the people of Jammu has manipulated the latest figures and has made a false claim on the floor of the House that as compared to Jammu division, Kashmir division continues to consume more power units and yet pays less power tariff,” Khan said adding that KEA will not act as a mute spectator and will raise voice against such manipulations.

“There are many issues besides this and we will soon chalk out a strategy to highlight our plight and the extent of discrimination that we are subject to,” he said.

An official wishing not to be named told CNS that from 2008-09 to October 2013, the revenue realization in the domestic category in J&K has been Rs 1433.69 crores out of which the consumers in Kashmir have paid Rs 861 crores tariff against Rs 572 crores by consumers in Jammu. He said that despite this fact, there were unscheduled power cuts and most of the areas in Kashmir reel under darkness as a result they frequently hit the roads and streets.

Describing the data made available by the State Government as bizarre and ridiculous, Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) member, Shakeel Qalandar said that the present government was a total failure and now it is pitting people of two regions against each other. “The official figures about the consumption and realization of revenue are ridiculous. Such questions are posed by Jammu based members in a crafty way and it is irony that concerned minister has come up with a reply without any explanation. There is no denying to the fact that we are still being ruled by Dogra’s by default or proxy and this government is forcing people to come on roads,” Qalandar said that adding a year before KCSDS had submitted a detailed report before SERC in which it was made clear that Kashmir consumes less power and pays more as compared to Jammu region.

Qalandar said that the reply of concerned minister lacks explanation. “The Power Minister can’t mislead people by providing distorted figures without showing categories of consumers and without explaining them,” he said adding that we are subjected to discrimination to such extent that no option has left with us except to come on roads. He further said that KCSDS has enough proof to contest the government claims.

President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, Shiekh Ashiq Ahmed said these figures were concocted and misleading. “We repeatedly are showing our concern about the discrimination that we are subject to from past couple of decades. This is nothing new but the irony is that despite Kahsmir having more consumers as compared to Jammu, the government has come up with imaginary and misleading figures,” he said it is unfortunate that the Government within days gave nod to the recommendations of Cabinet Sub Committee about the creation of new administrative units but is showing no interest to take back power projects from National Hydroelectric Power Corporation. “The notion of equitable development cannot be fulfilled without equitable justice. J&K’s economic planning needs a rational strategic approach and not a highly subjective statecraft,” he said. 

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