After long wait and delayed expectations some good news has come from PDD, a department abut which there are maximum complaints from the people in all the three regions of the State. It appears as if a breakthrough is in sight in the impasse that has taken the PDD in its grip. The issue at hand is of power generation and distribution in the State. It is that of shortage of supply and ever increasing demand from consumers. In a high level meeting held in New Delhi, the delegation of J&K led by the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, who is also holding the charge of Power in the State, met with their counterparts to discuss crucial matters that pertain to reducing the power shortage to the State.
It is reliably learnt that during the meeting of Project Monitoring Agency (PMA) and Project Implementing Agency (PIA), extensive deliberations took place with Central PSUs on allotment of power works under Centrally Sponsored Schemes in power sector. Central Schemes like PMDP, IPDS, DDUGJY, RGGVY-II and R-APDRP (Part-B) were also district at the meeting, which took place at Shram Shakti Bhawan in the Union capital.
The meeting finalized three Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) for immediately initiating works in eight districts after negotiating the rates from 12 per cent of the project costs to 8 and 8.5 per cent. Three CPSUs, which have been picked for allotment of works after negotiations, include Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) and Power Development Corporation Limited (PDCL). Among the works that will be taken in hand on priority basis are the works of power under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes to the tune of Rs 2000 crore which will be executed under the agreement. Initially, the Central PSUs would take up works to the tune of Rs 600 crore in eight districts of the State namely Leh, Kargil, Pulwama, Shopian, Ganderbal, Udhampur, Reasi and Ramban. The Centrally sponsored projects of electrification or augmentation of power supply and transmission etc. are either underway or have been abandoned temporarily for one or the other reason will be revived for completion.
The works which will be executed by the CPSUs fall under the Central schemes like Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) among others. Actually eight districts will come under the new arrangement finalized in Delhi meet. Taking into account the way deliberations were conducted with the high powered central team, one can say that the Deputy Chief Minister has made history in bringing about a breakthrough in the long impasse that had made the chances of providing electricity in full to all the villages and hamlets in the State very bleak.; We learn that it was a tough job to convinced the CPSUs to reduce the charges to 8 and 8.5 per cent of the total cost of the project although in normal course these CPSUs charge anything between 10 and 15 per cent. They were persuaded to understand that J&K had numerous constraints and was going through a tough time owing to the disturbed conditions. The good thing is that these CPSUs have not only understood the case but have extended their benevolence to the people of Kashmir in agreeing to accept only 8 to 8.5 per cent of commission.
The agreement is time bound and the works are fully identified. About six hundred crore have been released to help the CPSUs to start the work. This is for the first time that collaboration with CPSUs has been struck and it generates great hope that the State will be able to manage fairly the issue of power supply in the State. The most important outcome of improved power supply system will be noticed in boosting industrialization of the State. It has to be noted that the Centre has fixed November 2018 as deadline under the scheme ‘Power for All’. Out of 102 villages, where there was no power, work has been completed in 20-odd villages while 53 villages in far-off areas will be left after March-April, which fall in Ladakh, Gurez, Kishtwar etc. In final analysis we hope that the arrangement made with the CPSUs will work and that no hurdles will be created either in releasing the funds in time or providing other pre-requisites for smooth execution of schemes.