In 2011, the Power Department was allotted an ambitious project to improve power distribution in Kashmir by bringing down the transmission losses and curbing the energy theft.
Eight years later, the department has completed only 10percent work on the Rs 876 crore High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS)cabling project. Worse, the project is now being retendered owing to the grossmismanagement on part of the authorities.
An official said the project implementation faced hurdlesfrom the very beginning.
The work on the project was started more than two years laterin 2014, month before the Valley was hit by a devastating flood. The work was awardedto a Kolkata-based company. However, the official said, the company turnedbankrupt after some initial years of work.
"As a result the project got delayed and in 2016 followingthe unrest the government extended the project deadline to give a breather tothe company. But the company's financial position didn't improve forcing thegovernment to terminate the contract in 2018," the official said.
The company had outsourced the work to local contractors.They too however backed off after their payments were withheld by the company.
The resentment shown by the consumers over implementation ofthe project also led to the delay, said the official.
"As we were installingnew transformers and replacing the existing power lines with the HVDS cablingin cities and towns we faced resentment from locals in many areas who did notallow the project implementation as there are least chances of pilferage underthe new system," said another official.
The official said themismanagement on part of the government also led to the delay. He said theproject was first handed over to PDD's distribution followed by a decision someyears later that the Transmission wing will execute it.
"Now it has been handed over to the Projects wing," said theofficial.
The officials said the authorities have now decided tore-tender the project. "The tendering process is on," he said, adding theentire project would be sub-let to multiple contractors to expedite the work.
The project is being executed under centrally sponsoredscheme called Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reform Program(RAPDR) and integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS).