PDD Records 25% Revenue Growth In Kashmir

PDD Records 25% Revenue Growth In Kashmir

4 March 2014
Rising Kashmir
Asem Mohiuddin

Srinagar: Amid the controversy surrounding Union Minister, Farooq Abdullah’s derogatory remarks about Kashmiris being ‘big thieves’ of electricity, figures suggest while more and more people are paying their dues it is the politicians who have emerged as major defaulters. Power Development Department (PDD) has reported 25 percent revenue growth in Valley this year. “The revenue generation has gone upto 25 percent in Kashmir and 15 percent in Jammu from common consumers but very few law makers have paid fee so far against the usage of electricity,” a senior PDD official said, wishing not to be named. The official said the department has installed dedicated transformers for some senior ministers at their official and personal accommodations with multiple service lines. “Each transformer would cost over Rs 50,000 per month for the usage of electricity but not a single penny is being paid by these leaders,” the official said. On the contrary, the department has reported a significant 25 percent revenue generation in Valley and 15 per cent in Jammu with overall revenue realization upto 1750 crores this year against 1450 crores during 2012-13. The politicians are not paying electricity charges despite written directions by Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah. The chief minister had instructed officials not to spare anyone. The official said Omar, who also holds the power portfolio, had given clear cut directions ‘Don’t let anybody, howsoever well connected he may be’. Maintaining that there was no interference from the chief minister regarding disconnection of power supply to Nawa-e-Subh complex which houses National Conference party headquarters, the officials said they face hurdles at ministerial as well as at lower level. “Last year our enforcement teams started conducting on-spot inspections to make the meters functional installed at the residences of these ministers, but verbal directions were issued by the ministers and enforcement teams were stopped,” sources said. According to sources, majority of the defaulters are in Jammu region. “Due to multiple-service lines, these political leaders are installing meters on one line and using electricity on another line without any charges.” Three months ago, PDD issued list of 148 defaulters above Rs 10 lakh of industrial units mostly run by high-profile political leaders and businessmen. Some of the defaulters managed to escape suspension of power supply after invoking intervention at higher level. On February 25, the department suspended the power supply to houses of various legislators and government offices in Kashmir. The defaulters include Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar besides several leaders of National Conference including Khalid Najeeb, Javid Dar and Muhammad Shafi Uri besides senior leader of Congress Abdul Gani Vakil and chairman of Peoples Democratic Front, Hakim Muhammad Yasin. The connection to Sagar’s residence in Humhama was suspended for failing to clear dues for last one year. As per PDD details Sagar owes PDD Rs 95000, Najeeb Rs 16413, Vakil Rs 86690, Muhammad Shafi Uri Rs 176871, Javid Dar Rs 28621 and Hakim Yasin Rs 25411. Union Minister and NC president, Farooq Abdullah came in for sharp criticism for reportedly calling Kashmiris ‘maha chor’ (big thieves). The opposition PDP has demanded the apology from the Minister for the “insulting” remarks.