Power pickle pinches JK delegation at PC meet
Run-Up To Annual Plan 2010-11
Srinagar, Jan 29: Huge deficit in the State’s power sector remained the key issue of discussion at the first annual plan-fixation meeting between the Jammu and Kashmir Government and the Planning Commission in New Delhi Friday.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that the representatives of the Planning Commission’s power division took a grim note of the fact that the transmission and distribution losses and huge gap in the expenditure on Power Purchase Bill and the revenues was eating into the resources of the State and was a “big hurdle” in its development. “Alarming gap in expenditure and revenue in the power sector upsets the State’s whole financial management and plan formulations,” sources said.
While the state government is likely to face some “music” for its failure to tide over the losses in the power sector, the JK government would on its part urge the centre to chip in some financial support to tide over the revenue deficit in the crucial sector, source said.
The sever shortfall in power tariff returns has been a consistent problem with Jammu and Kashmir. In 2008-09, the power returns had fallen short by more than Rs 1,500 crore as government could realize only Rs 500 crore electricity dues from the consumers while its power purchase bill stood at a staggering Rs 2000 crore. The situation has been dismal for the current fiscal as well, with the Power Development Department having realized only Rs 486 crore tariff from the consumers against an expenditure of Rs 2500 crore on purchase of energy till December end.
Officials said more than 40 to 50 percent of electricity was lost due to the poor T&D system in the State.
The meeting, which was held at joint secretaries level, was represented by Joint Secretary in charge JK resources, Joint Secretary Finance Commission dealing with the state and officials from PCs Power and others divisions, and JK’s Principal Secretary Power Development Department, BR Sharma, Commissioner/Secretary, Finance, Sudhanshu Panday, Commissioner Secretary, Planning, BB Vyas and State Economic Advisor to J&K Government, Jaleel Ahmad Khan.
A top official who was part of the meeting said the PC members from its power division sought views from the State government officials on their assessment on power purchase and returns for the next fiscal.
“The power position continues to be grim as it was years ago with no chances of improvement in sight in near future unless some major intervention is made in the generation sector. It is continuously hurting the State’s development prospects,” the official said.
Quoting an instance, he said the neighbouring Himachal Pardesh has grown power-surplus state from power-deficit state with huge investment in generation. Unless some major projects are set up like 450 MW Baglihar power project, the situation would not improve. “We will continue to suffer deficits in the sector,” he said.
Regarding the overall meeting, the official said it was a preliminary exercise wherein the officials presented a picture of the expenditure and revenue in different sectors to the commission members.
The revised salaries, DA, pensions, interest payments and loan repayments were part of the discussion.
“The Commission members gave a patient hearing to us vis-ŕ-vis expenditure and revenue realization in different sectors. We are expecting another meeting soon after an internal meeting within different divisions of Planning Commission,” he said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 29 Jan 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 29 Jan 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 30 Jan 2010 00:00:00 IST
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