Srinagar- The people in Kashmir continue to face the brunt of frequent power cuts, despite the Power Development Department (PDD) purchasing 500 megawatt electricity from Uttar Pradesh government to meet the increasing demand of consumers with the onset of winter season.
The erratic power supply has also evoked sharp criticism from Valley’s trade association, businessmen, industrialists, besides major regional political parties.
According to reports, most parts of the Valley are experiencing erratic power supply and unscheduled power cuts at a time when mercury has started falling gradually with changing weather. The irregular electricity supply has been reported equally from both metered as well as unmetered areas of the Valley, including this capital city.
“The administration has failed to provide us with adequate power supply despite timely payment of bills by the consumers. Even the power department is not sticking to its own curtailment schedule,” said Farhad Ahmad, a resident of uptown Batamaloo.
The situation, he said, is worse during morning and evening hours when electricity is most needed.
“Even our children can’t focus on their studies when electricity plays a hide and seek game. There seems to be no end to our miseries,” he said.
Saqib Shabir, a student from Bandipora district had a similar complaint.
Speaking to Kashmir Observer, Shabir said that the student community has to face a lot of difficulties amid the pesky power cuts.
“A number of competitive exams are on cards and thousands of aspirants are preparing for them. However, the unstoppable power cuts are forcing us to study before candle light” he added
Notably, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) in a recently held press conference lashed out at the government and Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) for failing to meet the electricity demands of the people.
An official from KPDCL told Kashmir Observer that currently the demand of the electricity in the Valley is 1600 Megawatts but the department is able to produce only 1100 MW. He termed rainfall deficit and the melting of glaciers as two major reasons for less generation of electricity.
“The current curtailment schedule for metered areas is 4:30 hours while non-meters face a six hour power cut. However, in some areas the curtailment goes beyond that schedule depending on the availability of electricity,” he added.
Principal Secretary of Power Development Department (PDD) H Rajesh Prasad told Kashmir Observer that the department is getting the electricity according to the availability.
“Currently we get around 150-250 MWs of electricity from Uttar Pradesh. We purchase electricity according to the availability of the UP government,” Prasad said.
While responding to the allegations of the KCCI, Prasad said the business community should clear the pending dues of the department.
“How will the department run if they don’t pay the electricity fee? We are running into losses. We can’t provide electricity free of cost,” Prasad said, adding “For additional power supply, we need addition funds, which are not available”
Prasad also rubbished reports of power outage. “There might be issue in some areas, we will look into it,” he added.
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