For the first time, Gurez valley is set to get regular electricity supply as the Power department is working to complete a transmission line to the border area.
Bandipora-Gurez transmission line project is being executed by Jammu Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited. The 67-km line will pass over high altitude and avalanche-prone passes of Gurez, especially Razdan Top at an elevation of near 12,000 ft.
The tough topography and extreme weather conditions is a cause of concern among local population. They say the transmission line could develop major faults during harsh winter when the area receives heavy snowfall.
The residents say instead a power project in Gurez promised to them in 2010 could have proven a permanent solution to power woes. An official said the 33kv line will be carried through 11 meters long transmission poles, not towers despite extreme topography along the way. The department has already erected 1,300 poles of the total 1800.
“The 67-km transmission line starts from Patushai grid station to Razdan top, from where it will be carried along the road to Dawar, the main centre of Gurez on 11 meter long poles,” said Executive Engineer KPDCL Sub Transmission Division, Aftab Ahmad. He said the project was unlikely to be completed this season.
The activity is however getting a lukewarm response from the locals. “Razdan Top is known for extreme weather condition,” said Abdul Raheem Mir, Sarpanch of Dawar in Gurez valley. He said majority of the poles which were erected have been uprooted due to last season’s snowfall.
Mir added, from Razdan to Wanpora, the long stretch from where the transmission line will pass is avalanche-prone. “A small power project in Gurez instead of the transmission line which is bound to fail would have helped us,” Mir said, adding, “If a line generates fault during winters, nobody will be able to repair it as there are no roads open, which will leave us in darkness all winter.”
A PDD official said instead of poles, transmission towers should have been constructed to withstand snow and winds.
Executive Engineer PDD Bandipora said in Gurez, the department was constructing three receiving stations at Dawar, Sheikhpora and Sariyal. “The transformers have been installed and 90 percent of the work is complete,” he said.