From KO Archives | Tower Blasts Deepen Power Crisis

Qazigund Fault Forces Extra Shedding

SRINAGAR- Power supply to the valley seemed to take a turn for the worse this evening with possibility of total darkness looming in event of blasted transmission towers near Banihal town collapsing under the impact of heavy snowfall in the region.

Authorities were keeping their fingers crossed in anticipation of the damaged towers withstanding heavy snowfall or fierce winds. They were under stood to be charting desperate contingency measures, including temporary restoration, to tide over the grim situation arising out of the blasts. The picture would be dear by tomorrow.

According to reports, mysterious  blasts reportedly triggered by some 'unidentified  persons’ on Sunday and Monday morning damaged the double circuit 132-KV Udhampur -Srinagar transmission tower in 220-KV Kishenpur Pampore transmission tower in Banihal area. All the four legs ofthe 132-KV tower are damaged while the 220-tower, though standing, has tumbled twards one side. Their total collapse can cut off the entire power import to the valley, leaving it with a mere 70 megawatts (mw) - 50 mw from uri project and 20 mw from other power stations - barely sufficient for the essential loads only.

When contacted, the power development commissioner, Vinod Sharma, told Kashmir Observer this evening a  of engineers led by a superintending engineer visited the spot yesterday and, after collecting some equipment, left Udhampur again today to start restoration of the damaged towers, possibly tomorrow. Strengthening of the 220-KV tower and re-erection of the '132-KV tower would be taken up simultaneously. He said it would require a minimum of three days to effect the repairs.

Meanwhile, Sharma said, extra curtailment was resorted to in the valley this evening following a snag in one of the circuits of 220-KV transmission line between Qazigund and Wanpoh. With a big question marie banging over the 17-hour relief in six days provided to the valley consumers last week, the availability of energy is likely to be badly disrupted. At present, the power import has come down to 230 mw which includes 50 mw from Uri project. The availability had] gone up to 350 mw last week, mainly due to fall in demand, facilitating the 17-hour relief.

Sharma said one of the double circuit 132-KV Udhampur-Srinagar transmission line had been in a state of disrepair for the past two years. This leaves the department with only one circuit of this line besides the 220-KV Kishenpur-Pampore transmission line to import power to the valley. However, Sharma insisted the valley was getting "more than 55 per cent" of the available power against Jammu's 45 per cent. He attributed the longer spells of darkness in Kashmir to tigher con-sump turn" compared to Jammu region's load.

It may be recalled two transmission towers of both 132-KV and 220-KV lines at Qazigund were blasted in similar circumstances on the night between January 13 and 14 last year followed by blasting of 400-KV tower at Kutpora near Wagoora in Budgam district a day later. The power supply to the valley was disrupted for more than a fortnight till the temporary restoration equipment was airlifted from Delhi for erect the damaged towers. Curiously, the blasts have been taking place only in winter.

 (KASHMIR OBSERVER, 16 February, 2001)

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