KASHMIR POWER CRISIS: This winter, faulty transformers may not be repaired

SSI unit-holders decline to undertake repair works till liability of Rs 20 crore with the government is cleared

Muddasir Ali
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 22 2017 11:55PM | Updated Date: Nov 23 2017 1:28AM
KASHMIR POWER CRISIS: This winter, faulty transformers may not be repairedFile Photo

What could worsen power crisis across Kashmir this winter, the industrial units involved in repairing of damaged transformers have stopped taking fresh orders from the power department due to pending liabilities of around Rs 20 crore with the government.

An official told Greater Kashmir on Wednesday that since the winter has already set in, a deadlock between the small scale industrial units and the power department is worrying because the transformer damage rate in Kashmir goes up 50 to 60 percent due to overloading.

There are around 24 small scale industrial units in Kashmir districts that take regular orders from the power department for repair of damaged transformers, especially during winters.

“All of them have stopped the works as the power department hasn’t cleared their dues of around Rs 20 crore since 2014,” the official said.

Another official said that as the power crisis started to unfold, the department decided to make its central workshop at Pampore as a repairing center for all 12 districts of Kashmir. However, he said, when the idea failed to click, the authorities decided to route the damaged transformers to the small scale industrial units through the central workshop instead of their respective divisions.

“But the SSI unit holders have decided not to carry out any further work till their liabilities are cleared. This is a very precarious situation,” said the official.

A source said that officials concerned had taken up the issue with administrative department on several occasions in the past, cautioning the authorities of the looming crisis. But, the source said, the administrative department ordered audit of the works done by SSI units by a departmental committee.

“When the panel ordered clearance of pending liabilities, the administrative department then wrote to the Finance department to conduct the audit,” the source said.

The matter came up for discussion when Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired a meeting here on November 6 to review the power scenario in Kashmir.

That time, an official said that former commissioner/secretary power department Dheeraj Gupta had sought chief minister’s intervention in getting funds released by the Finance department for clearing liabilities.

“We have been pleading with authorities to clear a portion of our dues but they don’t seem to be interested. We have now decided to stop the works altogether,” said one of the SSI unit owners.

When contacted, the newly-appointed commissioner/secretary Power Hridesh Kumar told Greater Kashmir at around 4 pm today that he would comment on the issue after his meeting with the power minister Nirmal Singh. “I have a meeting with the power minister right now and will speak later,” he said.

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