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Power Ministry releases Rs 1094 cr for J&K under two Central schemes

Separate funding for rural, urban areas

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Feb 25: Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal has sanctioned Rs 1094.10 crores for augmentation and strengthening of electricity supply in Jammu and Kashmir under two different Centrally Sponsored Schemes, which were meant separately for rural and urban areas of the State. The Government of India funding would go a long way in improving power infrastructure in the State.
“A major part of the amount under two schemes has been released,” official sources told the Excelsior, adding that remaining funds would come once the Utilization Certificates (UCs) for works undertaken in power sector are submitted to the Union Ministry.
They said nearly 50 per cent of the amount has been released by the Union Power Ministry under Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for which total sanctioned amount is Rs 444.5 crores. This scheme is exclusively meant for urban sector of the State i.e. the towns. Under rural sector scheme, Rs 649 crores have been approved and nearly half of the amount has been released.
“We have received sanction of nearly 50 per cent funds under both the schemes, which were meant for rural and urban areas, where the State Government proposed to augment and strengthen power infrastructure to provide more electricity to the people by reducing the power cuts,” sources said, adding that in the rural area scheme, some of the villages, which were uncovered by electricity or have been de-electrified, will also be earmarked for electrification.
Piyush Goyal has informed Deputy Chief Minister and Minister Incharge Power, Dr Nirmal Singh on release of about 50 per cent funds under both the schemes and assured that balance funds would also be released after the State Government initiates works under the schemes and submit Utilization Certificates to his Ministry.
When contacted, Dr Singh confirmed release of the funds saying they would go a long way in improving power infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthen electricity supply in both rural and urban sectors as one of the two schemes is exclusively meant for rural areas. He said the Power Development Department (PDD) has been directed to identify the works, initiate tendering process and take up the job expeditiously to complete the work that would help the people.
According to sources, the rural areas scheme would be used for electrification of villages/hamlets and augmentation and strengthening of power infrastructure while the urban areas scheme would be used for strengthening infrastructure in the towns, which hadn’t been covered under the previous scheme-R-APDRP. The scheme will also strengthen sub-transmission and distribution.
The document read that the scheme is aimed at strengthening “sub-transmission and distribution”, besides raising infrastructure in semi-urban areas.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme will also cover IT enablement of distribution sector, completion of optical fiber missing links to connect Grid Sub Stations and metering of the consumers.
Out of Rs 444.5 crores worth scheme for urban areas, the Government has earmarked Rs 201 crores for Jammu division including Rs 52 crore for Jammu City, Rs 45 crore for Kathua town, Rs 50 crore for Batote, Rs 20 crore for Kishtwar and Rs 34 crore for Rajouri.
Rs 20 crore have exclusively been kept for Leh town to improve power distribution and strengthen infrastructure, sources said.
For Leh, the Government has sanctioned Rs 20 crore to start the process of “smart metering” and raising infrastructure to improve power distribution.
In Kashmir valley, Rs 22o crores have been allocated for a total of six towns including Rs 82 crores for Srinagar, Rs 16 crore for Ganderbal, Rs 28 crore for Sopore, Rs 22 crore for Pulwama, Rs 49 crore for Bijbehara and Rs 23 crore for Budgam, sources said.
Sources disclosed that majority of works identified under the two major Centrally Sponsored Schemes were likely to be taken up with the onset of new financial year of 2017-18 and directions have been issued to the Departments to ensure early completion of the works and submit their Utilization Certificates to secure more funds.
The funds under both the schemes are non-lapsable, they said.

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