It is a courageous admission
What is up
It was a delight to read the statement of our chief minister: “God has bestowed upon Jammu and Kashmir blessings in the shape of water resources in plenty and these could be utilized to transform the economy of the State by generating surplus hydro energy.” He has admitted that the state has lagged behind in harnessing the hydro electric potential of 20,000 MW available in the State. Had half of it been realized so far the state would have been providing 24x7 electricity to the consumers here and selling about 5000 MW to other parts of the country.
This kind of admission is second in a row. Earlier, the chief minister had admitted that the state was lacking infrastructural facilities for tourists during a national award ceremony at SKICC, Srinagar. Admitting loopholes in the economic system hampering growth and progress by none other than the chief minister, when taken in positive stride, is indication of a prosperous future. At least we can hope transformation in tourism and power related activities is in the offing.
Basic mantra of progress is that the economic cycle must not be hostage to conflict or whatever conditions. Let’s take the case of power. Importance of providing sustainable and affordable energy to the people here has always missed the focus of our ‘men of vision’. As far as providing of energy to even poorest of the poor goes, it is only through harnessing of hydel-power - best suited for our unique set of circumstances.
China is a case in point, where providing people with cheap hydel energy was part of that country’s poverty alleviation campaign in the mid-1980s. A key factor in China’s successful electrification programme through hydel energy was Beijing’s determination and ability to mobilise resource at the local level. Though the electrification programme was backed by subsidies and low-interest loans, it also benefited from the very cheap domestic production of equipment ranging from hydro-power generators to light bulbs.
How cheap hydel energy helps to eradicate poverty and generate heat in economic activity can be gauged by the fact put forth by experts that by installing a one-megawatt hydel power project in along with complete distribution network for the area can change the socio-economic conditions of the area by providing electricity to run machinery and equipment for the manufacturing and processing of local goods. This locally-generated energy will also be creating skilled job opportunities in the power supply system as well as in workshops for making electric appliances and fixing electric installations. Small and medium industries can immensely benefit through this cheap energy. Precisely, it would be rejuvenating our cultural energy.
We all know, our need for power is acute and urgent in nature. There is need to have a policy framework to be evolved in order to develop the hydro power potential of the State. The state should look at restructuring and corporatization of PDD to put it purely on commercial track. More funds have to be provided for strengthening the transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure in the state. Keeping in view the large hydro potential, limited available transmission corridors in the valley and ever-increasing right-of-way problems in laying transmission lines, it is important to develop an integrated transmission system for the state that optimizes utilization of resources and serves long term requirement of evacuating power from the ongoing and future hydro projects.
However emphasis should be to lay hand on significant micro, mini and small hydro potential and exploit them gainfully to provide electricity to remote villages in a cost effective and environmentally benign manner.
J&K State is a goldmine for hydro power generation. Since the chief minister has stated that the government has already launched prestigious projects in the State sector, in joint ventures, in PPP and IPP modes, we fervently hope the day is not far away when we will see new strides in power generation. This will address unemployment to a large extent. It will pave way for youth to go for industrial activities; forests will be saved; small and tiny sector will get opportunity to accelerate income generation capacity and prosperity will mark impression all-round.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST
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