Jammu facing worst ever torturous situation as PDD plays hide & seek

Corona patients face life threat, concentrators unable to operate
Unscheduled long power cuts, low voltage wreak havoc in region

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, June 10: Amidst tall slogans of ‘Smart City and Digital India’, the people in Jammu City and other parts of the region are facing worst ever torturous situation during these severe hot summer days due to frequent power cuts, low voltage, fluctuation in electricity and virtual mismanagement in power supply position, poor maintenance and non-upgradation of old and fragile power infrastructure.
Many Covid patients isolated at their respective homes and taking treatment, have been facing threat to their lives as oxygen concentrators are unable to function in the absence of adequate power supply by the Power Development Depart-ment/JPDCL. With the long power curtailment and low voltage, the invertors installed in the houses are unable to get charged and under these conditions, many patients have been left to face threat to their lives as without power supply the oxygen concentrators have turned useless at homes. Many families have been forced to either purchase power generators or shift their patients to Covid hospitals.
Excelsior office is continuously receiving many calls from the people alleging that tall slogans of ‘Digital India’ are being aired by some leaders but this all is not possible without adequate power supply. If PDD is unable to provide adequate and un-interrupted power supply in major cities and towns, what will be the situation in the small towns and villages.
Sources said that with mercury constantly rising up for the last 4-5 days during these hot summer days, the power supply position in Jammu city and other areas of the region including, Akhnoor, Khour, Nagrota, R S Pura, Bishnah, Vijaypur, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Rajouri and Udhampur has further worsened.
In villages as well, damaged transformers are not being replaced even after 4-5 days. The average damage caused to the PDD electric transformers has also gone on higher side, besides other faults due to intense hot days. With poor infrastructure, shortage of staff/manpower, the deparment is unable to cope up with the situation and provide relief to the people. But during these summer days the things have gone worst. In many areas, power is being supplied hardly for 10-15 minutes and then remains disrupted for about 1 to 2 hours.
Again, released hardly for 15 minutes and again disrupted for 1-2 hours.This unhealthy practice by the PDD officials have made life of the consumers miserable and torturous. The water supply in many areas, has also been badly hit with the power disruptions. The public is being deprived of these essential services. Many people alleged that even in the areas where 100 % metering has been done by PDD, the uninterrupted power supply is not being provided as per the claims of the Government.
They alleged that people in many areas are spending sleepless nights in the absence of power supply during these hot summer days. The transformer if gets damaged, is not replaced within 12 hours. There is no check on the substandard material being used during repairs and no accountability has been fixed on the people at the PDD workshops while from the private industrial units working for PDD, one year’s warranty is being taken by the department in case of any fault, the sources added.
In many Jammu localities whether it is Janipur, Indira Colony, Pamposh Colony, Muthi, Barnai, Bakshi Nagar, Rehari, New Plots, Sarwal, Old City, Bathindi, Narwal, Gandhinagar, Shastri Nagar or Sainik Colony, the condition is worst. Many transformers have been damaged or are under replacement. Not only water supply, the banking operation in many have has also been affected with frequent power breakdown. In Jagti town near Nagrota, where about 12,000 population of KPs is residing, is also facing worst ever situation during these hot summer days, the locals alleged.
The public calls being received by Excelsior, have most common complaint that concerned PDD/JPDCL staff whether Lineman, Junior Engineer, AE, AEE or Executive Engineer, do not respond despite repeated calls during crisis. The trasformer replacement time has also been increased by the PDD, they alleged.
A senior PDD officer when contacted said that they were trying to run the PDD system/ infrastructure which they have inherited. He said there is huge leakage of power and moreover, during summer days the system gets heated and is damaged. It happens every year but upgradation work in many areas was in progress, he added.
He further disclosed that during last year (2020-21), the cost of power purchase for J&K was to the tune of Rs 6753 crore but revenue collection was just Rs 2168 crore. There is great difference and burden on the Government. He said about 400 posts of JEs/AEs level, 1600 of Linemen and over 1200 of Technicians/ Meter Readers are lying vacant in Jammu since long. On many Feeders, Class -IV workers have been deployed instead of JEs. Over 13000 daily wagers engaged since 1997 till 2010 are running majority of the infrastructure/ power stations and getting wages of Rs 6750 per month. They are even working during odd hours. Moreover, non-metering in over 50% area in the region is the another major problem, he added.
Managing Directior, Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Limited(JPDCL), Gurmeet Singh and Chief Engineer (M&RE), Jammu, AK Sachdeva when contacted said that due to excessive power load on the Electric Tranformers and other infrastructure, this situation has created. They said during summers the department faces such a situation every year but admitted that things have gone worst this time. They claimed that their field staff was working round the clock to rectify faults and replace damage transformers but power theft, was the major cause of this crisis.
Replying to a question, the MD said as compared to June last year, 22 % excess power consumption has been witnessed during June this year so far in Jammu. He claimed that PDD/JPDCL has Transformers bank of the capacity of 600 units. The damaged transformers are replaced with those in stock immediately and moreover, many damaged transformers are repaired at the Divisional Level workshops. He referred to the shortage of staff as well in some areas but maintained that they were trying to run the system with the existing strength.
The Managaing Director disclosed that there was some delay due to Covid in the installation of a large Rs 7 crore worth Transformer of 160 MVA capacity at Burn Power Station near Bhalwal. It is in the final stage of installation now. It’s testing by a private hired company will be conducted within a week. With its commission, maximum by June 17, there will be a great relief to the people in many Jammu localities and adjoining areas, the MD maintained.