Power woes return to haunt Valley

Unscheduled Electricity Cuts Enrage Valleyites


Srinagar, Oct 24: Ahead of approaching winter and amid smoldering cooking gas crisis, unscheduled and extended power cuts have started aggravating the woes of Valleyites.
Of late both metered and unmetered areas in the Valley have started witnessing sharp increase in frequent energy cuts putting the consumers to huge inconvenience. The pesky power cuts triggered protests in several localities in the summer capital during past two weeks and the situation is worse in rural areas.
Last week the Power Development Department (PDD) announced new load-shedding program according to which non-metered areas would face cuts from 5 AM to 8 AM (twice a week), 6 PM to 10 PM (twice a week), night cut once a week (10 PM to 5 AM) and average 43 percent load off (6 AM to 6 PM) during a day.
For metered areas the announced schedule was once a week off (5 Am to 8 AM), once a week off (6 PM to 10 PM), once a week off (8 AM to 6 PM) and one night cut once a week (10 PM to 5 AM).
However, the consumers are all fire against PDD for not sticking to the announced schedule. According to them, there are frequent cuts in power supply after almost every two to three hours and mostly there is complete black-out in the mornings and evenings.
“For two consecutive nights, there was no electricity in our locality,” said Umar Ahmad of Chanapora. He said apart from newly announced curtailment schedule they were witnessing distress power cuts quite often.
“This is an indication of tough times ahead,” said another resident of Chanapora Firdous Ahmad.
He said on one hand people were finding it difficult to get LPG after the government announced cap on cooking gas and on the other power woes have returned with ferocity to haunt the people.
After the new LPG policy announced by Government of India, supply of subsidized cylinders to consumers in J&K has been limited to six.
There are apprehensions that power woes would intensify once the winter sets in.
“At present we are supplying around 900 MW to 1000 MW energy to Kashmir against the demand of over 1300 MW,” said a PDD official.
“The gap of more than 300 MW is forcing the department to go for distress cuts,” he said.
The official said the energy generation in local power projects like Ganderbal, Lower Jhelum and Upper Sindh has started dipping to fall in discharge in the rivers.
“In winter the generation goes down by 40 to 50 percent of the actual capacity,” the official said. “It will have an impact on the power availability in the state,” he said.
Peerzada Musa of Rajbagh said they were witnessing power cuts after every consecutive hour.
“The situation has gone from bad to worse during past two weeks,” Musa said. “The power cuts are more frequent during evening hours.”
Rajbagh is a metered area and is supposed to get round-the-clock power supply.
Muhammad Nayeem of Hajin, Bandipora said they were hardly receiving four to five hours of power supply during day. “The PDD does not stick to any schedule now,” Nayeem said.
According to reports, the situation in the rural areas is far worse and most of the villages and townships don’t get electricity for days together.
On October 22, Kashmir Traders United Front (KTUF) protested against the unscheduled power cuts, LPG and kerosene oil shortage, urging state government to mitigate the problems of common people. There were protests in Maisuma and some downtown localities also against the power cuts.
Chief Engineer, PDD (M&RE), Kashmir, Muzaffar Ahmad Mattoo did not respond to the issue, saying he was busy. “Call me later,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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