Union Power Minister talks tough

Power transmission and distribution infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir being far from satisfactory, has always been an issue where seriousness from the concerned authorities has been dissimulative rather than perceptive and action oriented. As if that was any less to worry about, even Central Public Undertakings too, are reported to be pursuing the same “conventional” cycle of delays, deferments, lethargy and working on ground sans speed. This approach, whether deliberate or subservient to issues claimed to be out of their control ,however, have in their wake, heaped element of uncertainty of expected better performance on power related innovative and developmental works going on in Jammu and Kashmir State. Union Power Minister RK Singh has intervened in the matter and taken a serious view of three Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) in connection with their way of working on augmentation of power transmission and distribution infrastructure in the state.
Rs.2500 crore worth works are underway but without the element of speed, pace and the required momentum in them. What should have been an ingredient of the monitoring of such works where whooping amount of public money was involved, has now been taken recourse to by asking for periodic progress report and therefore, Chief Secretary has been asked by the Union Minister to arrange obtaining of progress report on fortnightly basis from the concerned agencies to be directly sent to his office.
The moot question is as to why should such a situation at all arise where apprehensions of delays, cost overruns and associated problems actually do take place, directly as a result of lackadaisical approach of the agencies , the three CPSUs in the instant case ?The Minister did not approve of such a casual approach during high level meeting chaired by Governor Satya Pal Malik which among others, was attended by top officials of the Union Power Ministry and the State Government on Sept 6 in Srinagar. The three CPSUs are Power Grid Corporation of India, Rural Electrification Corporation Power Distribution Company Limited and REC Transmission Project Company Limited. They need to overcome what is felt a sluggishness in the pace of the work being executed by them.
Prime Minister’s Development Package includes improvement in infrastructure of power development and transmission for which Rs.2500 crore has been sanctioned and the works allotted to the said CPSUs are under Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Vidutikaran Yojna (DDUGJY) and R-APDRP for augmenting power transmission and distribution works across the state. It, therefore, attains its own importance.
Among other things related to monitoring of the progress on the works, camp offices in Srinagar of these agencies are required to be set up so as to have the progress of the work reviewed by their senior officers especially in respect of Kashmir and Ladakh where the progress was slow due to obvious reasons. Some minimum leverage commensurate with the situation on the ground in Kashmir due to prevailing conditions could be envisaged but in Ladakh besides weather vagaries , there should be no problems expected to be faced by these CPSUs executing the works under reference.
The Governor having got the pulse of the problem felt, stressed on close monitoring of all the projects under implementation and directed the Power Development Department to ensure close inter- departmental coordination , particularly with Central PSUs which are implementing agencies . We feel that 24 months is enough time limit and all concerned are expected to put in a bit of extra efforts to accomplish the task within the time limit since the state of Jammu and Kashmir, desperately is in need of a major turnaround to take place in the area of power production, transmission and distribution.