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POWER PARADOX | Kashmir’s electricity crisis leaves residents powerless

The deteriorating power situation in Kashmir has drawn widespread criticism from residents and the business community, who have accused the authorities of mishandling the crisis.
12:13 AM Apr 23, 2024 IST | MUKEET AKMALI
power paradox   kashmir’s electricity crisis leaves residents powerless
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Srinagar, Apr 22:  The already grim power scenario in Kashmir has taken a turn for the worse, as the Valley grapples with unscheduled and prolonged power cuts.

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The dwindling power availability has left the residents of Kashmir facing a harsh reality of extended load shedding, disrupting daily life and adding to the woes of the already beleaguered populace.

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According to officials from the Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL), the demand for electricity in Kashmir has outstripped the supply, leading to a substantial power deficit.

The officials said that the current load requirement for Kashmir stands at a staggering 1400 MW for 6 hours daily and 1000 MW for the remaining 18 hours.

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The power crisis, which has been simmering since November, has now reached alarming proportions, with residents reporting power outages lasting for hours on end.

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The KPDCL has acknowledged the severity of the situation, taking to social media to address the concerns of the people.

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In a message, the corporation said, “Due to limited power availability and the resulting restrictions, there has been an unavoidable increase in power curtailment. Rest assured, these restrictions will be eased once power availability improves. Please bear with us and ensure judicious use of power, especially during peak hours. Avoid exceeding sanctioned load or hooking.”

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Speaking to Greater Kashmir, Chief Engineer KPDCL Distribution, Sandeep Seth shed light on the root cause of the crisis.

“Due to less supply, we are facing problems to adhere to the power schedule,” he said.

About the duration of power cuts, Seth said, “We are working out on the number of hours, power cuts will be in place, which will be duly communicated to the consumers.”

He expressed optimism, saying, “Due to the non-availability of electricity, this situation has arisen, and we are hopeful that the power supply will improve.”

A senior KPDCL official wishing anonymity blamed fewer power purchases from outside Gencos as the main reason for the power supply.

“If the administration decided to buy additional power from outside Gencos, there won't be any problem. Our revenue collection has shown an improvement but we are facing embarrassment from the public as they complain that despite paying fees they are not getting quality supply,” the KPDCL official said.

The deteriorating power situation in Kashmir has drawn widespread criticism from residents and the business community, who have accused the authorities of mishandling the crisis.

“The power situation in Kashmir is going from bad to worse,” said a frustrated resident. “While we expected some hiccups during the winter months, the summer season typically used to be a smooth sailing period for power supply. However, the introduction of smart metering has taken an ugly turn, and we are now grappling with unprecedented outages.”

Javid Ahmad, a resident of Dalgate, echoed the sentiments of many exasperated Kashmiris.

“We hardly get a power supply of five to six hours in a day, despite being a fully metered area,” he said. “It’s a far cry from the reliable service we were promised when the smart metering system was implemented.”

The business fraternity has also voiced its concerns, complaining of substantial losses due to the crippling power shortages.

Shopkeepers and entrepreneurs have been forced to rely on expensive generators to keep their operations running, eating into their already strained profits.

“How can we be expected to thrive in such an environment?” questioned a local businessman. “Without a consistent and stable power supply, our businesses are hanging by a thread.”

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