I write to urgently address the precarious state of the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the recent statements by H Rajesh Parsad, Principal Secretary of the Power Development Department, who has shed light on the criticality of implementing power sector reforms in the region.
These reforms, including the installation of smart meters, are not mere luxuries but are indispensable for ensuring a consistent supply of quality and affordable electricity. Additionally, they play a crucial role in accessing central financial assistance for power procurement, which is vital to meet the energy needs of the region.
The successful execution of these reforms is the key to making Jammu and Kashmir eligible for central financial aid through various schemes.
Smart meters, which offer accurate readings and encourage prudent power consumption, are central to these reforms. They are integral to tackling issues in power generation, transmission, distribution, and measurement, all of which are essential for a reliable and affordable 24×7 power supply in the Union Territory.
Despite Jammu and Kashmir having some of the lowest power unit rates in the country, consumers must diligently pay their bills to sustain these affordable rates. Power tariff rates have seen minimal increases in the last seven years, and the recent 8 percent hike barely compensates for inflation and rising power generation and transmission costs. Furthermore, the region faces power shortages during winter months, forcing costly power purchases from the exchange due to hydel project production decreases. This leads to significant financial losses for the region, as the purchase costs far exceed the billing revenues.
Delaying these reforms risks not only potential blackouts but also hampers industrialization, tourism growth, and employment opportunities. These reforms are not just a necessity for economic development but are also essential for securing Central Government assistance vital for the region’s progress.
We implore the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir to support and cooperate with these reforms, as they are the linchpin for the region’s betterment and the prosperity of its future generations.