Winter’s Tale

Like every winter, Valley is reeling under severe power shortage. There are daily reports of protests across Srinagar and the other parts of the Valley. And the government’s response to the crisis is familiar: blame it on the people. This time it is Power Development Department which has repeated this line in a smug, self-righteous way to absolve itself of all the responsibility in the matter. PDD, the officials of the department have said, can overcome the power shortage if people do not misuse electricity. While it is nobody’s case to defend the power pilferage by people, this is not the real question at issue. The issue is who lets them do so in the first place, and get away with it. And perhaps more important question is why PDD’s ground staff lets people pilfer power. The answer to this question is something we all know. It is unfair to blame people for being responsible for what can only be termed as misgovernance. Provision of services and enforcing the rule of law is the job of government. If there is pilferage of power, it is the department of power that is responsible, not the people. There can be no power theft if there is no collusion from the power department. In metered areas, on the other hand, a large number of residents are willing to pay their bills for the uninterrupted supply. But if the metering system is collapsing, the government again needs to look within for the cause. The question is that if misuse of electricity in the Valley is the singular cause of the frequent power outages in winter, then it is well within the control of PDD to mend the situation through more efficient and honest work of its ground staff. But, as the government itself knows, the problem is not the people but the ill-conceived and ad hoc policies of the successive state governments which have forced a state with a power generation potential of an estimated 20,000 MW to live permanently with the reality of power cuts through the year.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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