POWER PROTESTS PARALYZE SRINAGAR OUTSKIRTS

No Justification For Protests, People Misusing Electricity: PDD

SHABIR IBN YUSUF

Srinagar, Jan 8: With power situation in the valley turning out to be the worst in recent times, people on Tuesday took to streets in various parts of Srinagar disrupting traffic movement for hours and staging massive protests. Reports of similar protests also poured in from other districts.
Amid agonizing cold conditions, people in every nook and corner of the state are complaining of extended pesky power outages with some areas witnessing blackout for days together.
Power Development Department (PDD) officials said they can overcome the problem if consumers make proper use of electricity.
On Tuesday traffic movement on Panthachowk-Parimpora national highway bypass here remained paralyzed for more than six hours as the residents of Bemina and its adjacent areas blocked the road to protest against the non-availability of electricity in their locality.
The traffic movement on the bypass came to a grinding halt with thousands of vehicles lined up along the road stretch from Hyderpora to Shalteng.
The protestors shouted slogans against PDD and the Government. The agitated people including women said that PDD authorities are resorting to unscheduled power cuts in the metered areas. The protesters said they are suffering immensely due to pesky power cuts for the last one month in sub-zero temperatures.
Last evening the people of area had locked Bemina receiving station to protest against the shortage of power.
Curiously, the police posse deployed in the troubled area was seen watching the situation helplessly with thousands of commuters including patients and employees hostaged by the dharna for almost the whole day today.
A police official who was trying to pacify the protestors and open the road said that at 10 am they flashed a wireless message to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and Chief Engineer PDD about the protests in Bemina area. “No official from the civil administration turned up. We can’t open the road using force,” he said. “At around 3 pm some PDD officials arrived at the spot and assured the people that the problem would be looked into,” the police official said.
The local traders association accused PDD of making things worse for the locals and the tourists. “In the evening for three hours there is power cut,” traders association representative Altaf Ahmad told Greater Kashmir adding the area is fully metered. “Power cut in the evening has a negative impact on tourism,” he said and appealed the authorities to look into the problem which he said can “snowball into massive public outcry.”
For over more than two months, the power situation in Kashmir has remained grim forcing people in different districts to stage anti-government and anti-PDD demonstrations. Quite recently Pulwama district of south Kashmir observed a week-long bandh and even petitioned Governor NN Vohra over the severe power crisis in the area.
Reports reaching from other districts said the consumers are all fire against PDD for not sticking to the announced power curtailment schedule. According to them, there are frequent power cuts after almost every one to two hours and mostly there is complete black-out in the mornings and evenings.
Reports of protests against the non-availability of power pour in from every part of valley day in and day out. Reports of protests against non-availability of electricity were received from Sopore, Kupwara, Bandipora, Anantnag, Baramulla and so many other district headquarters.
As per the present schedule, power remains off for one hour in mornings, one hour in evening and three hours every night per week in metered areas. Given that consumers are heavily dependent on fuel and electricity during cold seasons, the deteriorating power scenario is causing acute inconvenience to them, amid LPG scarcity.
Abdul Rashid of Rafiabad Baramulla said that for three consecutive nights, there was no electricity in their locality. “At the end of the month PDD officials come with hefty bills. We are unable to understand for what we have to pay,” he said and added that apart from announced curtailment schedule they were witnessing distress power cuts quite often.
A teacher Abdul Bashir from Nund Reshi Colony, Bemina area said; “Virtually we are without electricity for the past 36 hours. We had no electricity on Sunday and Monday nights and today on Tuesday morning. Government is forcing us to come on the streets to seek restoration of power supply. The PDD is violating its own schedule by keeping us without electricity for days together.”
Chief Engineer PDD (MNRE) Muzaffar Ahmad Mattoo told Greater Kashmir that they are trying to supply the power in proper way. “You see there is no justification of protests by Bemina people. They need 9 MW power. Our grid has capacity 26.3 MV and despite this the receiving station is over-loaded,” Mattoo said.
Chief Engineer said that they can overcome the problem in case power is used properly. “Incase people use power in proper way there would not be any problem in any part of valley,” he said.

INFRA UPGRADE TO FACILITATE ELECTRICITY: GOVT
GKNN ADDS FROM JAMMU: Minister of state for Power Shabir Ahmed Khan today said upgradation of the infrastructure will facilitate uninterrupted power supply and its distribution.
"Upgradation of the infrastructure would facilitate uninterrupted power supply and its distribution, besides drawing of power from the power stations under construction in the region", the minister said.
He was reviewing the functioning of the Power Development Department (PDD) at a high level meeting here today.
The Minister took a detailed review of various ongoing works, including status of RGGVY projects, upcoming grid stations and High Transmission Lines.
The minister emphasized the need to speed up the work on infrastructure upgradation works aimed at improving of power scenario in the state.
The minister issued directions for immediate restoration of damages caused to power infrastructure due to recent snowfall in Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar and other affected areas.
Shabir instructed concerned officials to closely monitor the power system across the division and directed that damaged transformers should be replaced immediately to avoid resentment among masses.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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