SRINAGAR, Oct 1: Even as the residents of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district continue to reel under severe electricity crisis, the State’s Power Development Department (PDD) fails to make the power distribution grid station functional to streamline electricity supply in the area.
Commissioned under the Prime Ministers Re-construction Programme (PMRP), the 50 Mega Watts (MVA), 132/33 Kilo Watts (KV) grid station in Putushai village of Bandipora was aimed to provide a long-term solution to the power crisis of nearly 110 villages in Bandipora district but even after the passage of nine years the project is yet to deliver its services.
According to locals, the power grid station has not been made functional due to “lackadaisical approach” of the authorities concerned, which has been forcing the people to face unbridled and unscheduled power cuts over the years. “Nine years have passed since the work on this grid station was started, but it has not been made operational to date for reasons best known to the authorities.
“People have been facing power cuts for last nine years. Had this grid station been made operational, it would have provided much-needed relief to the people, but it did not happen,” Mushtaq Ahmad, a local, said.
He said they approached the officers concerned who were unable to give satisfactory replies. “This is really unfortunate on the part of the Government concerned that this important grid station has not been made functional so far. We fail to understand the reasons behind this inordinate delay,” he added.
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Sajad Ganie, however, informed that this 50-MVA grid station was ready to deliver services, but could not be made functional because of some right of way (ROW) issues. “The project is complete but issues in the construction of six towers required for 132 KV DC transmission line from Badampora Ganderbal to Bandipora is hampering its functioning,” he said.
An official at Power Development Department said that local administration had proposed an alternate alignment for the transmission line but they turned it down because of the loss it might have incurred. “It would have affected the first component of the project, made nearly five distribution towers redundant and incurred a loss of 4-5 crores. Out of estimated 19.85 crores for the first component, nearly 14 crores have already been spent on the transmission line”, he said.
The PDD official said that another component of the project which included construction of a 50 MVA, 132/33 KV grid station and 132 KV was complete with a total project cost of Rs 17.52 crores. He, however, lamented that the project has missed two deadlines due to issues with the landowners.
“Earlier, the grid station was to be commissioned in March 2016, later the commissioning date was extended to December 2016 due to some ROW (Right to Way) issues but till date, the grid station is yet to be completed,” he said. As of now, the local populace is being supplied electricity from Amargarh, Pattan and Badampora and Ganderbal grid stations. Due to overload on the existing infrastructure, the Power Development Department enforces the electricity cuts.