From KO Archives | Distress Power Cut As GT Supply Stops

SRINAGAR-  Barely a few hours after the power development department PDD  finalised  revised curtailment schedule for the valley assuring around 12 hour power supply, authorities gave it an quit burial this evening. Even after the power minister, S S Slathia, directed continued 4-hour daily (7 pm to 11 pm) operation of gas turbines to improve power availability, the 5-unit Pampore turbines screeched to an abrupt halt following orders from above.

According to reports authorities were forced to resort to 'distress load shedding of ru­ral areas to enable maintain­ing minimum supply to the city and some major towns besides the essential services. The 'revised' programme is to be further revised in keeping with the reduced availability ordered by the power managers in Jammu.

Reports said the revised schedule, drawn up for 10 days. February 26 to March 7 had been worked out on the premise that about 100 megawatts of power would be available in ad­dition to that imported from northern grid and local genera­tion. The valley was divided into two groups. A and B. Calculat­ing a net availability of 430 mw to 460 mw, the revised schedule on even ' odd basis envisaged a fairly improved supply position.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the power generation from Uri project had improved over the past few days following a marginal rise in the water level of the river. From a meagre 50 mw, it shot up to 140 mw on Saturday and Sunday. Even to­day, it hovered around 120 mw. The generation from the Lower Jhelum hydel project and other stations had also gone up ap­preciably.

Contrary to governments claims of heavy dependence on imports from the northern grid, and even the common belief, sources said, the valley exported 40 mw of power to northern grid for a brief while on Saturday and Sunday However, the PDD preferred to keep a tight lid over the report to avoid any embarrassment

On Saturday, the power minister had himself told Kashmir Observer that uni­form supply would be ensured between rural and urban areas of the valley with the avail­ability of 200 mw to 230 mw from northern grid. He had assured supply for nine hours on an average However, he okayed a further improvement to make it about 12 hours in 24 hours for which he ordered continued operation of (.he gas turbine.

Interestingly, the official handout issued after Slathia’s Pampore visit yesterday boastfully screamed, "gas turbine in operation despite whop­ping daily expenditure". Reminis­cent of Mirza Galib's famous cou­plet ke merey qail ke baad us my jafa se tauba / hai us zood pashaiman ka pashaiman hona," he (Slathia) expressed regrets on the inconvenience faced by the people in the valley due to blast­ing of the transmission towers."

Now that the 'generosity' has been unceremoniously withdrawn the minister's (read government's) regret has proved to be shockingly short-lived.

Even as, in the absence of permanent restoration, the 220-K V and 132-KV transmission lines may prove to be too fragile, like a slender thread, to ensure sustained import of power, a question mark will continue to hang over the state government's role in ensuring an equitable distribution of electricity between Kashmir and Jammu.

 (Kashmir Observer, 01 March, 2001)

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