People suffer, industry incurs losses due to power outages in Kashmir

Authorities here have cited the early onset of summer and sub-optimal hydropower generation as reasons for unscheduled power cuts.
People suffer, industry incurs losses due to power outages in Kashmir
What is especially irksome is that the electricity goes off at the time of Sehri, the midnight meal during the month of fasting.File: Mubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar: There seems to be no respite from power outages in Kashmir as people continue to suffer while industrialists have complained of incurring losses due to electricity shortage.

Kashmir is going through one of its worst power crisis leaving people distraught, while the business community is suffering losses as they have to pay idle wages during the time power remains cut-off.

Authorities here have cited the early onset of summer and sub-optimal hydropower generation as reasons for unscheduled power cuts.

Officials in the electricity department said the supply in April was around 900 to 1100 MW while the demand was 1600 MW, thereby, creating a deficit which has forced them to go for unscheduled power cuts.

People in the valley complain that the power supply often gets disrupted at the time of sehri (when pre-dawn meals to begin the days fast are taken) and iftar (when the fast is broken).

" It is the worst ever power crisis I have seen in April when there is less load in comparison to winter. The government is not doing anything, they are claiming of doubling power generation but here we are not even able to meet basic requirements," said Junaid Ahmad, a Nowpora resident. While the people are aghast, the industrialists have complained of suffering losses.

President Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) Shahid Kamili said“ uninterrupted and affordable electricity is important for economic growth in any part of the world, but in Kashmir instead of moving forward, with every passing year power scenario gets worse so does our economy.".

"Pesky power cuts would discourage the young entrepreneurs to continue in the production line and would water down all the efforts of the J&K Govt to encourage young entrepreneurs with soaps like land and subsidies."

"The uninterrupted power supply is like the oxygen to an industrial unit and cannot be compromised at any cost," he said.

“Manufacturing industry is already in shambles here due to various reasons but the problem gets augmented due to scant electricity supply on which our whole industry depends.”

Kamili also said that the power outage will also discourage investors from investing in Kashmir who is habitual of working in power curtailment free zones.

Notably, all office bearers of industrial associations have expressed concern over the power outages in industrial areas which are proving very expensive for them to sustain given the already many years of unfavourable situations for the industry in Kashmir.

The Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) said load served during April has been around 900 to 1,100 MW against a demand of 1600 MW.

"This deficit has forced the corporation to go for unscheduled cuts," it said.

The early onset of summer in the rest part of the country has led to the highest ever power demand. Besides, reduced thermal power generation coupled with the sub-optimal generation of hydropower due to fewer rains has resulted in deficient power availability leading to unscheduled and prolonged power cuts, it added.

It said hydropower generation currently is around 50 per cent of the installed capacity and the load supplied by the KPDCL is in the range of 900-1,100 MWs against the peak demand of 1,600 MW.

"Attempts have been made to fill the deficit gap through peaking up of hydropower plants to meet peak demand load at sehri and iftaar times," it said.

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