Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Thursday directed the Power Development Department (PDD) to work out an institutional mechanism that will ensure availability of power, strictly in accordance with the schedule notified by it t during hostile winter. He also issued instructions to fast-track metering and gearing up inspections to check the pilferage of power. “With onset of winter, it has become imperative to educate people to make judicious use of power, enabling the department to deliver better services and reduce damage to transformers,” he observed. The Chief Minister made these remarks while chairing a high-level meeting to review the functioning of PDD, in the Civil Secretariat, here today, which was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, who also holds the charge of Power portfolio. Minister for Finance & Culture, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Minister of State for Power, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas and Commissioner / Secretary PDD, Dheeraj Gupta also attended the meeting. Pointing out the difficulties countenanced by people in winter when peak demand for electricity goes up manifolds, Mufti Sayeed stressed upon creation of an institutional grid that monitors curtailment schedules and power pilferage. “It is the duty of the department to religiously adhere to curtailment schedules so that people do not face any hardships,” he said. During harsh winters in the past, the people have faced difficulties due to regular power outages and breakdown of transformers. Mufti Sayeed was also apprised about the expected improvement in power generation by 450 MW Baghliar II, which is being commissioned next month. He was also informed that some deficit can be overcome by banking in additional power in view of the generation available from Baghliar II during summers. While reviewing demand and availability scenario, the Chief Minister also directed the Chief Secretary to fast-track 100 per cent metering to ensure prudent use of electricity. He noted with concern the slow pace of metering in uncovered areas. “A transformer bank should also be created so that people do not suffer in case of breakdowns,” he added. It was given out in the meeting that out of 16.50 lakh power connections, 53 per cent have been metered so far. As many as 20,000 meters have been procured under RAPDRP through turn-key contract and their installation initiated. Due to contractual issues, no procurement of digital meters could be done for the last three years. Briefing the Chief Minister about various steps taken by PDD to ensure dedicated power supply in winter, the Power Secretary said an adequate buffer stock of 450 new and 900 reclaimed transformers has been established to meet the demand. “In view of transmission constraints, we will also focus on fast-tracking system improvement schemes at distribution level and set up regional workshops to repair transformers in the shortest possible time,” he added. The Chief Minister also directed the Chief Secretary to obtain details of present status of private power projects in the state, adding the government should provide the required facilitation for private players to operate in a hassle-free manner. He also directed Chief Engineer M&RE to delink the power supply at Pahalgam and Gulmarg so that dedicated electricity is made available to these resorts in winter. On the issue of yawning gap of Rs.3500 crore between power purchased and actual revenue realized, the Finance Minister apprised the Chief Minister about raising bonds of Rs. 7000 crore to liquidate the power purchase liabilities. “Our gap is in fact only Rs. 2500 crore as we extend approximately Rs.1000 crore power subsidy to the state’s industrial sector,” he added. The PDD has framed a Committee under Development Commissioner Power and a note is being finalized for approval of the State Cabinet in this regard. In the first six months this fiscal, a total of Rs 802.29 crores revenue has been realized. The meeting was informed that the department expects to realize revenue of Rs.2000 crore this year. Last year, the total revenue realized was to the tune of Rs.1736.27 crore. To close gaps in power purchases, the Chief Minister was also briefed about the Committee framed for preparing a Draft Power Purchase Policy which will submit its recommendation on surrender of costly power allocations, possible tariff intervention, power swapping and banking arrangements and reduction of wheeling costs. The Deputy Chief Minister highlighted the measures taken by the department in reducing transmission and distribution losses in the power sector. He said the government is fast-tracking installation of meters in uncovered areas so that the misuse of electricity is prevented. Also present were Commissioner / Secretary Finance, Navin Kumar Chaudhary, Executive Director, SPDC, A. M. Lanker, Development Commissioner, Power, Ayaz Gul and Chief Engineers, Bashir Khan and Shahnaz Goni, besides several other officers of Power Department.
2015 Kashmir Despatch