Several Machil villages still without electricity
A woman holds candle as she cooks rice on gas stove in the absence of electricity in Srinagar.File: Mubashir Khan/ GK

Several Machil villages still without electricity

Kupwara: The residents of several villages in Machil sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district Sunday expressed resentment against the authorities for failing to provide them with electricity.

The residents said that the much-hyped power station which was inaugurated last year does not cater to the entire area of over two dozen villages and instead is confined to only two villages of Machil and Duddi.

“I am unable to figure out why only two villages are getting electricity from the newly-established power station and the remaining villages have been left out. What was the fun of glamorising the power station at the national level if it does not fulfill the basic aim,” a local from Chontwari Machil said.

Another resident alleged that they were promised substantial supply of electricity at the time of the inaugural ceremony of the power station but nothing had changed since then.

Barring Machil and Duddi, the remaining villages are being provided only a few hours of electricity from a generator installed in the area several years ago.

“We were much optimistic that electricity will be provided to rest of the villages after LG Manoj Sinha’s visit to Machil last year but almost a year has passed and the people belonging to far-flung areas of Machil continuously to live without the basic right,” said Muhammad Jamal, a former Sarpanch of Duddi.

The villages which continuously reel under darkness include Poshwari, Dapal-Misri Bahak, Katwara, Chontwari Payeen, Chontwari Balla, Doban, Ring Payeen and Ring Balla.

According to locals, over 3000 households reside in these villages with more than 18,000 population not having the privilege to electricity in this scientific era.

The residents said that to connect the remaining villages with the Machil receiving station, the process of installing electricity poles was started in the area but only 60 percent poles were installed.

“Most of the poles installed in the area have tilted as concrete had not been used to fix them in the ground which has damaged 50 percent of installed poles,” a local said.

The residents said that they had brought this issue to the notice of the district administration a number of times but nothing concrete had materialised so far.

The residents have sought immediate intervention of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha so that their grievance is redressed at the earliest.

Executive Engineer, Power Development Department (PDD), Kupwara Division, Shamim Ahmad told Greater Kashmir that work was on to connect the remaining villages with Machil receiving station.

He said that the project worth Rs 4.94 crore was being carried out under ‘Saubhagya’ scheme.

“It includes installation of 1145 nine-meter long ST poles, 650 eight-meter long ST poles, laying of 45.78 km HT wire, 30.94 km LT wire and installation of 39 transformers at different locations,” Ahmad said.

About the damaged poles, he said that the payment of the concerned contractor would not be released unless he repairs them.

“Once the field staff will approve of the executed work to their full satisfaction only then will payment be released,” Ahmad said.

He said that after the completion of this scheme, it would be difficult for the PDD Division Kupwara to depute employees in Machil.

“Since we have a dearth of employees, authorities should employ local daily wagers to look after the scheme once it is fully operational,” Ahmad said.

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