Come winter, and the woes of Kashmiris will aggravate in multiple ways. One amongst such vagaries is the pesky power supply which is a cause of great anguish in general public here.
No sooner the November month sets in than the chaos (Yervinav) of erratic power supply is observed, thereby irking the consumers in every nook and corner of the valley.
The PDD (Power Development Department) every year assures its consumers with tall claims that the supply will get better but when the actual time for it arrives, all of us realize to have been taken for a ride.
For winter season, a new curtailment schedule of power supply is issued both for metered and non-metered areas allover the valley which in real sense is never implemented.
No doubt, the carrying capacity in MWs (mega-watts) is increased yearly and an extra 10-12 percent of electricity is believed to be supplied to the consumers, but what is the fun of it when during peak hours it is not accessible.
Frequent power cuts have become a cause of great annoyance to the public here. The power department never sticks to its announcements. What for is the curtailment schedule, both in metered and non-metered areas, when it is not executed in letter and spirit? Unless and until, KPDCL (Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited) won’t swing into action, nothing is going to happen. No improvement will occur unless words are not matched with actions.
There are two options for the department. Either to act strictly or to increase the capacity. Though the later is not going to help, yet, the former (acting strictly) will make a difference.
Didn’t we fight Covid-19 bravely? When we succeed in defeating the dreadful disease like Corona-virus, why can’t we revamp the power system once for all? We definitely can, provided we are committed and determined. Remember, with determination, mountains can be moved.
The 21st Century is on and still there are hundreds of areas reeling under darkness. Still transformers remain in the workshops for months at end and electricity-poles all across are damaged. A large population of people is still non-metered and still people are seen protesting on roads against power cuts.
If consumers are paying the bills, why can’t the department provide to them the due right? How ironical! The dept. resorts to the prolonged power cuts which is a great inconvenience for the people.
The curtailment schedule of the electricity is simply kakzi-goday, just paper work, while in reality the supply does hide-and-seek with the consumers who seem to be totally fed up with the overall scenario.
Nothing is impossible provided we are firm and act practically. The concerned, quite often, blame ‘power pilferage’ as the main reason for the power cuts in the valley, and also state that the unrestricted demand has increased manifold. But who will stop this pilferage? The consumers or the department itself? Yes, the department obviously has to act tough against power theft everywhere. Special Task Force (STF) teams should be constituted to make nocturnal and day-time raids in all such areas where power-theft/hooking is done.
Okay, if nocturnal raids seem a bit difficult as during night time the gates remain closed. Diurnal raids continuously for a week or two can prove greatly helpful in the long run. Please forgive me to say, that it’s the field-staff (linemen) who promote the power-theft. Why go elsewhere? Let me take an example of my own area where no sooner a team of PDD officials leave for a search operation towards any village to teach culprits a lesson than the line-men accompanying the team rings up to their acquaintances (who grease their palms) to hide the heaters and boilers.
Tell me, how come the system will renovate when the approach is only hypothetical and feeble? Nevertheless, certain changes are undeniably going to work provided the stakeholders leave their cozy cabins and act sternly on grass root level. One, announcements (like we did during Covid-19 pandemic) regarding ‘power theft as an offence’ should be made till people get enlightened.
Second, extend the circumference of providing fiber wires everywhere so that no power theft is feasible. Third, provide meters far and wide so that schedule remains the same all over.
Fourth, swing into action on war-footing basis to catch offenders both during nocturnal and diurnal raids till some change is seen. I am sure change will come if the department will choose to take up this fed-up consumer’s humble options.
Manzoor Akash is a teacher in Dept. of School Education J&K
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.