Power woes have begun biting valleyiets ferociously with the onset of Chillai Kalan. Our Power Development Department is notoriously known for unscheduled and arbitrary power cuts. Year in and out their performance is going downhill. Watching their colossal failure, the authorities lay the blame at the door of consumers. In their estimation, power thefts is a major factor contributing to power scarcity. While it may be true to an extent but certainly not the sole reason. Fall in the quantum and flow of water level in our rivers and streams during winter leads to a considerable decline in their generating capacity. Being a natural phenomenon beyond their control, the department was expected to workout appropriate alternatives and remedial measures to tide over the deficiency. In the absence of a well conceived long term perspective plan, the gulf between demand and supply has been ever widening with the passage of time. Huge pilferages caused by transmission losses also add to the shortage. While it may not be possible to eradicate transmission losses outrightly, the induction of modern technology can surely minimize it a great deal.
Stealing power would become next to impossible without the active connivance and tacit support of insiders. Given the huge paraphernalia of staff knowing their consumers stealing power which is literally facilitated, encouraged and shielded by insiders gives a rude shock. No theft can ever go unnoticed if they are honestly and stubbornly vigilant about it. What stops their authorities from conducting surprise raids regularly and randomly everywhere without discrimination. Conducting raids in an organized manner defeats the very purpose of doing it. Instances galore where information regarding impending visit of checking squads was leaked in advance by none other than their own people. Dishonest consumers get time to remove their hook and illegal connections bringing the purpose and intentions of the checking squad to a naught. Even if raids are conducted for the heck of it once in a blue moon, the names of the offenders are never made public. Besides imposing hefty fines and disconnection of service line, publishing details of culprits would be an effective deterrent. No efforts by the PDD will ever achieve tangible outcome unless they purge their own staff for acting hand in glove with consumers. The authorities at the middle and top rung need to be hard and uncompromising in cleaning up their department of its rot and undesirable elements. Any political or bureaucratic interference may be kept at bay to enforce discipline, dedication and devotion among the staff to salvage the sinking image of the department. The authorities may be well equipped with adequate professional credentials and dexterity but corporate managerial skills and administrative acumen is badly wanted to put the department on track. Necessary amendments in the "Electricity Act" is also required to arm its field officers with magisterial powers to impose on spot fine on the defaulters.
Lack of adequate and uninterrupted power supply is to a great deal responsible for the absence of any significant industrial environment in Kashmir. Numerous surveys conducted over the past have unanimously indicated ideal suitability of the valley for certain type of industries. Pursuant to these observations, the successive governments laid out a well knit industrial base in the valley. Numerous sops and packages were offered to net in a large number of youngsters. The absence of an adequate and an uninterrupted power supply which is the lifeline for any such venture led to a gradual decline of these manufacturing units. A comparatively better electricity scenario in Jammu enabled it to take a quantum jump ahead in this sphere. A significant presence of industrial footprint in Jammu has changed diametrically the contours of its economic growth. This has absorbed a large chunk of their educated unemployed youth besides generating substantial capital. The valley is perpetually and perennially lagging behind. Even in our neighborhood Himachal Pradesh which is like us mainly on Hydle Power with same climatic conditions has sprung up as energy surplus state exporting power to Punjab and Haryana. Ill conceived policy of bifurcation of the city as metered and non metered areas eats into the coffers of exchequer. PDD is in perennial loss for decades. Revenue shortages can be largely attributed to merciless misuse of energy and low collection in non metered areas. Even in metered areas tariff slabs vary leading to discrimination. Just a few conscientious consumers who pay through their nose for every single consumed unit constitute a microscopic minority.
PDD has earned a dubious distinction of dishonoring its own commitment. The much publicized schedule of power cuts is more observed in violation than adherence even in metered areas. The phenomenon of misusing their position and authority is quite rampant in the department. Even a class four employee reaps the benefits of power misuse. Amid massive anger against PDD, people in large numbers are taking to streets. It is unscheduled and frequent cuts which is a major irritant. Being well conscious of energy deficiency, people would generally bear with PDD if they adhere to their schedule strictly. It is more a matter of management than scarcity. Living in posh VIP colonies does not automatically enhance the character and mental caliber of consumers. Honest and dishonest people are found everywhere.