Power Overhaul On Cards7 December 2011
Srinagar: The government has embarked on a comprehensive plan, involving investment of Rs 2000 crore, to improve the power scenario of the state by overcoming the huge transmission and distribution losses. The government will invest Rs 2000 crore under various schemes to overcome the T&D losses by way of metering of uncovered areas, replacing existing transformers with smaller ones and low tension lines with aerial bunched cables.The state exchequer losses around Rs 400 crore every year on account of the T&D losses which also deprives state of around 65 per cent electricity. To provide relief to the consumers, the first ever call centre will also come up with a facility of online-bill payment system. “All projects are being funded by the Union Power Ministry,” Power Development Commissioner, Manzoor Salroo told Rising Kashmir. He, however, said the steps won’t bear fruit until people cooperate with the Power Development Department. The government’s plan to address the poor T&D infrastructure comes after more than three decades. “The first committee to suggest power reforms was set up in 1976 under the chairmanship of the then Governor L K Jha,” said noted economist, Nisar Ali. “After that, many other committees put forth their recommendations, but not a single recommendation was implemented.” Owing to the poor T&D infrastructure, he said, the State loses Rs 400 crore annually. “This means, we lose 65 per cent electricity annually due to the inefficient power infrastructure,” he said. Ali, who has contributed to the Jha-led committee by means of his suggestions, said the panel had clearly stated that there was no co-relation between power investment, power generation and public investment. “The recommendations, however, fell on the deaf ears.” He said projects like Dul Hasti, Salal and Uri also contribute to T&D losses. The PDD will be spending Rs 2000 crore under Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (APDRP) to improve the transmission system first. “Under this scheme, we will be covering 30 major towns in the state including the capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu. Eleven towns will be covered in Jammu, 17 in Kashmir and two in Ladakh region,” said the Power Development Commissioner. Under this programme, he said, the PDD will go for major infrastructure overhaul. “We will replace all old transformers with smaller ones. This will help supply exact amount of electricity. And if one transformer develops fault, only four to five houses would get affected and not the entire locality,” Salroo said. PDD also aims to become more consumer friendly as the first call centre having the online-bill payment system will come up at Bemina on the city outskirts. “There will be a separate website for the consumers to print and pay e-bills. Besides, they can also register their complaints,” he said. The Power Development Commissioner said they are also planning to replace low tension lines with Aerial Bunched Cables (ABC). “This will help overcome hooking. ABCs will be several hundred meters above ground. That way, people can’t hook,” he said. He said more than two dozen new grid stations will be constructed and commissioned accordingly. “These include Mirbazar, Kokernag, Alasteng, Kupwara, Bandipore, Budgam in Kashmir and many others in Jammu region,” he said. “These grid stations will come up at the cost of Rs 1300 crore,” Salroo said. He said online supervising control of distribution system will also come up. He said the government is also working to implement a flagship programme called Rajiv Gandhi Vidutkaran Yojna (RGVY) which is aimed to cover areas having no access to electricity.