*90 pc power supply restored: DyCM
JAMMU, Jan 18: Entire opposition today staged walk-out in the Assembly even as some ruling coalition partner MLAs also joined in grilling the Government over power and water crisis and closure of several roads post-snowfall and rains while Congress MLA from Kargil Haji Asgar Ali Karbalaie was marshaled out of the House during the protests. Number of MLAs wanted the Government to open Chenani-Nashri tunnel for emergency evacuation of the trapped people. Ruling BJP MLA from Ramban Neelam Langeh even staged a walk-out in the Assembly on the issue.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, who holds the charge of Power Development Department, told the Assembly that entire administrative machinery has been pressed into service to clear snow and restore snapped electricity supply and assured the agitated members that complete restoration would be done in the shortest possible time.
It was pandemonium in the House right from the word with all opposition MLAs including National Conference and Congress and PDF MLA Mohammad Yasin on their feet and trying to troop into Well of the House saying there has been complete breakdown of power and water supply and closure of roads in many parts of the State.
BJP MLAs from Doda and Bhaderwah Shakti Raj Parihar and Dileep Parihar and PDP MLA Javed Hussain Baig also said that many roads in their areas were closed and power and water supply has been snapped in the aftermath of snowfall and rains. Shakti Parihar demanded that Chenani-Nashri tunnel should be opened to facilitate movement of the trapped persons while DIleep Parihar called for pressing helicopter into service to help the trapped people.
Another BJP MLA Neelam Langeh (Ramban) walked-out of the House saying a youth from his constituency has died in the Government Medical College Jammu and Government should open Nashri tunnel for transporting his body to his native village.
While the Deputy Chief Minister told the agitated members that he would make a statement in the Assembly at 12 noon, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri said many roads have been cleared of snowfall while men and machinery have been pressed into service to clear rest of the roads.
“We are on the job. We will clear the roads and restore supplies in the Kashmir valley shortly,” Veeri said.
As Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh finished his statement in the Assembly around 12 noon, all MLAs of National Conference and Congress were on their feet and trooped near Well of the House shouting anti-Government slogans.
‘Power Supply Bahaal Karo (restore the power supply)’ rented the air.
Deputy Speaker Nazir Gurezi, who was in the chair, ordered that some of the proceedings in the House pertaining to the opposition MLAs, wouldn’t go on record.
As NC and Congress MLAs indulged in massive sloganeering and protests in the Well of the House, the Deputy Speaker ordered that MLA Kargil (Haji Asgar Ali Karbalaie) should be removed from the House. However, all other opposition MLAs surrounded Karbalaie and didn’t allow the Watch and Ward Staff to evict him for few minutes, leading to commotion in the House.
After couple of minutes’ scuffle, the Marshals succeeded in evicting Karbalaie from the Assembly.
“What you have been doing is most unfortunate. This is not the fighting ring. I won’t tolerate such kind of behaviour by the MLAs. There will be no compromise on sanctity of the House,” the Deputy Speaker remarked during protests by the Opposition MLAs as some of the Congress legislators also shouted slogans against him. The Deputy Speaker’s remarks were welcomed by the treasury benches with the thumping of desks.
Later, all opposition MLAs, present in the House, staged a walk-out.
In his statement in the House, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh said 90 per cent power supply has been restored in the Valley, which had been disrupted due to snowfall. He said directions have been issued to the authorities to restore 100 per cent supply in Kashmir and other affected areas of Jammu and Ladakh regions at the earliest.
Dr Singh said special control rooms have been set up to address to the people’s problems and coordinate in early restoration of power supply in the remaining areas. Senior officers of the Power Development Department were manning the control rooms and monitoring the situation round-the-clock.
He said that heavy snowfall in the Kashmir valley disrupted the power supply but due to the efforts of the concerned officials, the supply was restored.
“The peak power demand in the Kashmir valley is 1700 MW and the maximum which we can supply is 1180 MW, the remaining around 550 MW cannot be supplied due to infrastructural issues and the Government is working to improve the infrastructure,” he said.
Dr Singh said that the Government was supplying over 1100 MW electricity in the Valley while the total agreemented load was 700 MW.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that before the snowfall at January 6, the load was 1094 MW but after the heavy snowfall, the load crashed to 190 MW. However, by noon 600 MW was restored.
He said by January 7 at 7 pm, 70 per cent of electricity supply was restored and 90 per cent was restored the following day.
Dr Singh also said that 561 transformers suffered damages due to the unprecedented snowfall and they were repaired or replaced.
He said that due to the continuous snowfall which was going on today, some snags have developed in the distribution of power supply and the department was working to restore them.
Earlier as soon as the House proceedings began, all NC and Congress MLAs and PDF lone legislator Hakim Mohammad Yasin were on their feet saying there has been complete disruption of the normal life in several parts of the State including the Valley as roads have been cut off and power and water supply snapped after snowfall and rains in the State.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Nawang Rigzin Jora said Leh was being supplied electricity only for four hours in the day from 7 pm to 11 pm.
“Most of the power generated from Alchi project is being given to the Army, which get 24 hours power while the public is facing darkness. The Alchi project which I got funded and commissioned was meant for the public first and the leftover power, if any, was to be supplied to the Army,” Jora said and added that civilians should be the first priority as Army has its own resources and can manage the electricity supply.
NC MLA and former Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said there was major crisis in the Valley with no power and roads and traffic closed for past three days.
“As snowfall and rains were expected, the Government should have been ready with the Contingency Plan. However, no measures have been taken by the Government even after the snowfall to provide succor to the people,” Sagar regretted.
The NC leader said the Government was missing on the ground and issuing statements, which have nothing to do with the reality.
Former Minister and Congress leader Ghulam Mohammad Saroori said the “Chenab Valley” was completely in darkness. Batote-Kishtwar road was closed. The Government should open Chenani-Nashri tunnel, which was complete but has been closed waiting for its inauguration by the Prime Minister, he added.
Haji Asgar Ali Karbalaie, Congress MLA from Kargil, said there was no power in Kargil for past 7 days. Army was getting power supply while civilian population has been left in the dark, he alleged.
Congress MLA Usmaan Majid also alleged power and water supply breakdown and closure of roads at Sopore, Bandipora, Devsar, Shangus and other areas.