Srinagar: The Kashmir Institute, a valley based think tank, is currently conducting a survey in the region regarding the electricity crisis. The think-tank also plans to hold a public dialogue regarding the same next month.
A statement from the think tank pointed out that over the years, Kashmir valley has been facing a prolonged electricity crisis. The situation only worsens during the long winter months as the demand for electricity predictably jumps up. And despite tall promises by successive governments, there hasn’t been any improvement in this scenario.
“So to create a broader dialogue on this pertinent issue, The Kashmir Institute is currently conducting a survey on the crisis in the region and also organizing a public dialogue next month. The public dialogue will have diverse eminent experts on the issue discussing all the concerns, causes and remedies of the crisis. The data of the survey and the proceedings of the debate will be formulated into a comprehensive report with recommendations, to be released later,” the statement said.
Many experts and locals argue that the electricity deficit Kashmir valley faces is not only due to the continuing hegemony of National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) over the majority of hydel-power projects, but also the inability and indecision on part of the state government to upgrade vital distribution infrastructure despite adequate funding made available by the central government under the RAPDRP scheme up to the tune of nearly 2200 crores.
“While the progress of the RAPDRP scheme in certain districts of the Jammu province has been ranging between 30-50%, with around 15-35% funds being released; the progress in the districts in Kashmir province has been shockingly dismal. In a lot of districts in Kashmir valley, the tendering process is yet to be completed while due to faulty tendering a lot of districts are seeing absolutely no tenders for the scheme, ” the statement said.
It further added, “The state’s transmission and distribution losses would have been drastically reduced by more than 400MWs, if the RAPDRP scheme was implemented in timely manner, ensuring a significant improvement in the power scenario.”
The statement also questioned the current dispensation for failing to get back the power projects from NHPC.
“The ruling People’s Democratic Party in its “Agenda of Alliance” had, in fact, proposed the transfer of 390-MW Dulhasti and 290-MW Uri hydro-power projects from the NHPC to the state, but that hasn’t happened even after three-years of PDP-BJP government,” the statement pointed out.
It further added, “The state government has also wasted three years in re-tendering the vital 850MW Ratle 2 power project, which has been initiated only now. With the state’s energy needs expected to double over the next five years, the power crisis could potentially only worsen unless some drastic measures are undertaken by the government.”
In the past, The Kashmir Institute has discussed issues like the “Impact of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” role of arts in a society and has recently launched valley wide workshop series on “Emotional Well-being and Stress Management” while also reflecting and analyzing the impact of the conflict on youth’s mental health.