The power situation in Kashmir remains bleak, despite the effort by the Power Development Department (PDD) to mitigate this issue by purchasing 500 megawatts of electricity from Uttar Pradesh, Erratic power supply has drawn outrage from various quarters, including trade associations, businessmen, industrialists, and regional political parties. The crisis is particularly severe during the morning and evening hours, when electricity is in high demand, affecting not only households but also students.
For the student community, the erratic power supply has been nothing short of a nightmare. With a slew of competitive exams on the horizon, thousands of aspirants are preparing in their homes and coaching centres. However, incessant power cuts have forced them to study by candlelight, as not all of them have inverters.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) recently held a press conference to vent their frustration and criticized both the government and the Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) for their inability to meet the electricity demands of the businesses in the Valley. However, KPDCL has attributed the power shortage to a gaping demand-supply gap. The Valley’s electricity demand stands at 1600 megawatts, while the department can only produce 1100 megawatts. This shortfall is exacerbated by factors such as rainfall deficit and the consequent low discharge in river Jhelum, both of which impact electricity generation.
To address this situation, the department has implemented a curtailment schedule, with metered areas facing 4.5 hours of power cuts, and non-metered areas experiencing six hours of outages. In some parts of the Valley, power cuts extend even beyond these schedules based on electricity availability. These power cuts have disrupted daily life, inconveniencing residents and affecting economic activities.
The power crisis in the Kashmir Valley is a grim reminder of the challenges faced by the region’s residents during the winter season. As temperatures drop and the demand for electricity soars, the government and the power department must collaborate to find sustainable solutions to this persistent issue.
The situation is straightforward: our region exports electricity while buying it at a high price for our own needs. It’s imperative for the government to devise a strategic plan and take action to secure a regular supply of electricity, especially during the winter season. Kashmir confronts various obstacles, ranging from nature’s unpredictability to infrastructure shortcomings, but these challenges are not insurmountable. With a focused and coordinated effort from the government, the region can overcome these hurdles and ensure a reliable power supply in the long run.
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