Govt hopeful of having no power cuts from 2018-19 winters
As Kashmir continues to witness an acute power shortage, the government is hopeful of having no power cuts from next year.
“The power supply situation will improve once the transmission line in the State being set by the PGCIL (Power Grid Corporation of India Limited) is ready by August this year,” Minister for Finance, Haseeb Ahmad Drabu said in an interview to Rising Kashmir.
The PGCIL is setting up two transmission lines across the State for the distribution of electricity.
The Sterlite project being set up by PGCIL would bring power from Jalandhar, Punjab, to Amargarh, near Srinagar, along a 441-km line running through Mughal Road along the Line of Control (LoC).
Another 332-km transmission line would pass through Leh-Khalsti-Drass-Zojila and Srinagar.
The two transmission lines would improve the electricity carrying capacity of the State by 220 MWs.
“Now the power distribution will become better,” Chief Engineer Power Development Department (PDD), Shehnaz Goni told Rising Kashmir.
During winters, in some villages in Kashmir, winter outages persist up to 20 hours a day.
Jammu Kashmir’s peak power demand is about 2700 megawatts but it gets only 2100 megawatts.
Of it, 1100 megawatts from hydro electricity produced within the State and the rest from other states through an existing PGCIL transmission line.
A lack of transmission capacity prevents it from bringing in more.
However, just having the new transmission lines may not be the answer to the existing power crisis in the State.
While the two PGCIL lines would increase the transmission and distribution capacity by 220 MWs, the problem lies in the retention capacity as the government has failed to operationalise the Alasteng and Budgam power grids.
The two non-operational power grids could have increased the power retention capacity of the State by 440 MWs.
Drabu said his biggest regret is not having revamped the power sector.
“The sector can witness a turnaround in a matter of years,” he said. “The process of tendering from the government side has remained weak over the years as the tenders are built in such a manner that one gets an impression better not to participate in the process.”
The finance minister said the power sector could witness a turnaround if the procurement and tendering policy was efficient and quick.
He said, presently, the State’s shortfall in expenditure was entirely due to the power sector.