Oppn, PDP-BJP members clash over power issue in Upper House

*Chairman asks Ministers to come prepared
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 31: The Opposition Congress and National Conference members today clashed with the members of ruling PDP and BJP in the Upper House over the issue of electricity while the Congress member Naresh Gupta staged walk out to lodge his protest as the minister failed to convince him on the reply.
The heat was generated in the Legislative Council on the issue raised by Congress Legislator Naresh Gupta during Question Hour. The opposition members grilled the Minister of State for Power, Farooq Andrabi who failed to convince the member. Later, Chairman also directed the Government and asked that ministers should come prepared in the House.
While responding to the main question of Naresh Gupta MoS Power, Andrabi told in the Upper House that 83 un-electrified villages and 242 habitations would be electrified under DDUGJY in the State.
He further said that under the scheme PDD would electrify 43 villages and hamlets of Bandipora district, 42 villages and hamlets of Kargil district, 63 villages and hamlets of Kishtwar district, 66 villages and hamlets of Kupwara district, 44 villages and hamlets of Leh district, 28 villages and hamlets of Rajouri district and 38 villages and hamlets of Reasi district. In Doda and Ramban districts the data provided by minister showed zero number of un-electrified villages and zero number of un-electrified habitations.
The Member asked when Rs 52 crore was shown spent in Phase I and Rs 101 crore under Phase-II of the Scheme in Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts then why the reply was zero in two districts. What is the fate of this huge amount kept for this region where only 20 and 43 villages/ habitations have been shown covered just in district Kishtwar. He asked what is the fate of that total amount shown spent. The Government should give clear reply. The minister failed to respond properly and the member pressed that question be deferred. He also demanded probe by House Committee.
Upon this the PDP and BJP member stood up for the rescue of minister and started raising allegations on the opposition members. Then other opposition members including Jugal Kishore, Ghulam Nabi Monga, Sajjad Kichloo also stood up and clashed with the members of Treasuries benches. The verbal spat continued in the House for some time. Sajjad Kichloo said power scenario was grim in Kishtwar and Doda and why Government was not giving proper reply. The members started grilling of the MOS Power. The chairman tried to convince the members and went ahead with next question with the apparent intentions to protect the minister from opposition’s wrath.
The agitated Naresh Gupta moved towards the well torn the papers of Minister’s reply in front of Secretary’s table and then staged walk-out raising serious allegations against Govt. The order was then restored in the House. Then Congress member G N Monga stood up and drawn the attention of the Chairman towards the issue and said since Chairman is custodian of the rights of the members whether from opposition or other side, he should issue directions that ministers should come with proper reply so that this situation is avoided. Then the Chairman Anayat Ali directed the Government that all the ministers should come prepared in the House.
Earlier, Minister while replying to the main question said that an amount of Rs 28.065 crore has been spent till date under RAPDRP (Part-B) for the replacement of LT bare conductor lines with Aerial Bunched Cables to curb the power theft. He said the works under this programme are under execution and the results would be achieved once the programme was completed.
He said the contract for R-APDRP part-B has been awarded to IRCON Limited and M/s EMC Limited for various towns of Jammu province. He said the replacement work of LT bare network with LT Aerial Bunched Cable in allotted towns of Kashmir province is yet to be started by the contractor agency. He said the material for the same is procured only after requisite testing procedure are carried out to ensure quality control adding that the material which is used for all the works under R-APDRP is new and duly inspected.
The minister said that Rs 52.05 crore was sanctioned under RGGVY-1st for erstwhile Doda district for taking up the works at 33KV, 11 KV and LT level out of which Rs 44.85 crores has been spent and payment made to the contractor. He informed that Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has sanctioned financial assistance of Rs 101.28 crore for implementation of RGGVY-IInd in respect of district Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar. He said tenders for RGGVY-IInd were floated for all the three districts twice in August 2014 and 2015 but there was no response to the tenders despite several extensions. He said after this, the department floated composite tenders wherein the works to be executed under DDUGJY, PMDP and RGGVY have been clubbed.
Andrabi further disclosed that construction of Grid sub-station Khellani and Bhallesa besides receiving sub-station Dalian- Bhaderwah are at different stages of completion and efforts are on for early completion of these projects.