* Calls for expeditious relief disbursement to snow-hit orchardists
SRINAGAR, Nov 17: Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam reviewed winter management measures including power scenario at a high-level meeting with the divisional administration Kashmir at the Winter Secretariat here last evening.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan informed the Chief Secretary that the power scenario is being reviewed on day to day basis. He said the current peak demand is about 2200 MWs while as peak load served is around 1300 MWs.
Khan said the Power Development Department (PDD) has, in view of the demand-supply gap, announced a curtailment schedule in the Valley.
Chief Secretary said the Government would explore avenues to augment power supply to Kashmir during winters so that there is less curtailment in view of harsh weather conditions.
He directed PDD to publicize the curtailment schedule widely through media so that the people prepare for the same in advance. He said PDD should also come out with a comparative statement regarding demand and supply of power for the corresponding period this year and the previous year.
Chief Secretary also directed PDD to set up a dedicated help-line to address issues faced by people on account of electricity.
On road connectivity, Chief Secretary was informed that all roads, earlier blocked due to recent snowfall have been cleared, except for the Mughal Road.
Officials said 651 water supply schemes that were impacted by snowfall have been completely restored.
Chief Secretary also took stock of the availability of essential commodities including food-grains, LPG and K-Oil and called for ensuring buffer stocks to meet the demand.
Reviewing the issues faced by orchardists due to the recent snowfall, Chief Secretary was told that Deputy Commissioners have completed the assessment of damages and disbursement of cash compensation has been initiated. It was revealed that the orchards in south Kashmir have suffered extensive damage which requires additional funds.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir said that as per the assessment made by DCs, an additional amount of Rs 150 crore would be needed to compensate the losses.
Responding to the demand raised by the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Chief Secretary made it clear that there is no dearth of funds and Government will ensure that the affected farmers are compensated adequately. He, however, issued clear cut instructions to the DCs to ensure expeditious disbursement of compensation and update the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir on day-to-day basis.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary discussed modalities for the maiden ‘Global Investors Summit’ to be held in Jammu and Kashmir that will set the platform for businesses to make investments in a big way in the State.
“There are unique challenges in Jammu and Kashmir but Governor’s Administration is determined to overcome them. We are in the process of creating an ecosystem to attract investment from national and international businesses that will open up new vistas of employment in the state,” Chief Secretary said.
He said Jammu and Kashmir has the best work force and talented youth available but due to the situational challenges, businesses have stayed away from making investments here.
“J&K doesn’t require factories for labour. We have the best work force across the country. Large scale investment in sectors such as biotech and horticulture can produce great results. It is with this idea that the government is going to organise a business summit,” he said.
Chief Secretary said the State Government will hire a knowledge partner who will help in identifying the potential of focus sectors that will set the tone for the investor summit. “If a box of apples is sold for Rs 1500 in New Delhi, why should it sell for just Rs 300 in the Valley? We are determined to change this,” he said.
Consultants of Ernest and Young made a presentation in which they chalked out a detailed roadmap for organising the investors’ summit in Jammu and Kashmir. Reflecting on their experiences of having worked in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, they said such summits have exponentially increased investments in these states.