Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Monetary Black Hole Called PDD

Rashid discloses the latest case of corruption in the J&K Power Development Department (PDD). He is not alone. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) uncovered some more nuggets. Will the Department ever go clean? State engages in wishful thinking (3 reports)

(Mr. Rashid Paul, 42, was born at Ompora, near Budgam. He has a master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the University of Kashmir. He has worked at a number of newspapers, including the Daily Excelsior, the Rising Kashmir, and the Kashmir Images. He follows business and economy, conflict, environment and power beats. He is also a documentary film maker.)

Corruption Unlimited!

Srinagar: A minimum of Rs 235 crores are allegedly swindled by the Power Development Department (PDD) officials in the form of proceeds from its 7.82 lakh unregistered consumers annually. Or is it that the money is just missed because there are no records?

Though power pilferage has been a persistent problem with the PDD, the extreme limits it has touched are astounding.

The recently disclosed housing census of the state has helped expose the big leakage which remained under the carpet for almost a decade.

According to the census report, the state has nearly 20 lakh households out of which about 19 lakh households are electrified.

However, the PDD documents revealed that only about 11.28 lakh households are registered with it till date.

An average tariff of Rs 250 a month is exacted from each household by PDD officials. These proceeds never enter the records and are consumed as spoils amongst the officials, well-placed sources in the department said.

If these households are properly registered with the PPD, revenue of Rs 235 crores will accrue to the department every year, the official said.

The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has also castigated the department for failing in registering the unauthorized consumers.

“Even by giving allowance for un-electrified households there are still a large number of unauthorized/unregistered households who are using electricity but not paying for it,” the Commission observed last year after the PDD filed a petition for hiking the tariff on its registered consumers.

The Commission ascribed the loophole as one of the major factors of the transmission losses which have reached a staggering 72 percent. The commission said, “it may be one of the important reasons for the high power losses in the state”.

It rebuked the PDD for failing to plug the hole and concluded that no efforts have been made by the Utility to register the unregistered/unregistered consumers.

Total number of households 20,15,088

Electrified 17,15,557

Electrified through Kerosene-fed
generators in Ladakh Division 1,95,290

Total 1910844

Registered with PDD 1128105

Unregistered 782742

Revenue losses Rs 235 cr (approx)

CAG Blames PDD for Huge T&D Losses

Syed Amjad Shah (Rising Kashmir)

Jammu: Holding Power Development Department (PDD) responsible for failing to control the Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses in Jammu and Kashmir, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Wednesday said if T&D losses decrease by 3 percent per year it would add revenue of Rs 93.43 crore to the department annually.

It further disclosed that T&D losses have gone up to 62 percent in 2010-11 due to unsatisfactory implementation of the centrally sponsored programmes in the State.

“As per memorandum of understanding executed with Government of India (GoI) under APDRP in April 2012, the government was committed to bring down the T&D losses to 25 percent from 46 percent by December 2006,” disclosed the CAG report, which was tabled in Assembly today.
The report said these losses had alarmingly gone up from 45 percent in 2005-06 to 62 percent in 2010-11 due to unsatisfactory implementation of the centrally sponsored programmes.

Maintaining that reduction in these losses is must to make PDD financially self-sustainable, it said, “Reducing T&D losses was important as three percent decrease in losses per year could add Rs 93.43 crore to the revenue of the department annually”.

It said main reason for such high energy losses were due to significant number of unmetered consumers and theft/misuse of electricity.

The CAG report revealed that while approving tariff for 2010-11, the SERC had noted that T&D losses in the State were amongst the highest in the country.

“Despite taking several initiatives to reduce such losses in the State over the years, the PDD has miserably failed in controlling the losses,” it said.

The audit report observed that despite assurances to make sincere efforts to reduce T&D losses to an acceptable level, such losses for 2010-11 were at staggering 62 percent.

According to CAG report, 8,236,53 energy units were purchased in 2006-07; in 2007-08 it was 8,743,96 units; in 2008-09 it was 9, 147, 65 units and in 2010-11 the purchased power was 10, 667,23 units.

It stated that 4,030,84 energy units were sold in 2006-07. “The figure was 3, 341, 64 units in 2007-08; it was 3,538,70 units in 2008-09 and 4,041,00 in 2009-10,” it said.

Referring to the energy losses, the CAG report disclosed that 4, 205, 68 energy units were lost in 2006-07. “In 2007-08 the losses were 5, 412, 32 units, in 2008-09 it was 5,608,51 units, in 2009-10 it was 6, 537, 65 units and in 2010-11 it was 6,626,23 units”.

The CAG report disclosed that in 2006-07, the percentage of energy losses was 51.06 while in 2007-08 it was 61.90, in 2008-09 it was 61.27, in 2009-10 it was 63.04 and in 2010-11 it was 62.12.

Govt Formulates Plan to Restructure PDD

Rising Kashmir News

Srinagar: The government Saturday said a comprehensive plan has been formulated for restructuring of Power Development Department (PDD) and Rs 2 crores have been earmarked for installation of anti-power theft cables in the State.

Commissioner-Secretary Power Development Department Sudhanshu Pandey convened a meeting of senior engineers of PDD and reviewed the pace of progress of various ongoing schemes of the department and its sister concerns.

The Development Commissioner Power, J&K Manzoor Ahmad Salroo, Chief Engineer Systems & Operations, Kashmir Gul Ayaz, Chief Engineer Generation Kashmir C Durjay, Chief Engineer EM & RE Muzaffar Mattoo, Joint Director Information, Kashmir Itrat Hussain Rafiquee, Superintending Engineers of Kashmir and other concerned officers were present on the occasion.

Addressing the meeting, Pandey urged the officers to gear up for reorganization of the Power Development Department.

He said the government has formulated a comprehensive plan for restructuring of PDD on modern lines, which is being executed soon.

He said one lakh meters are being installed during current financial year. “Rs. one crore each for Kashmir and Jammu division will be earmarked for installation of cables where power theft is being noticed. All projects coming up under PMRP and RGGVY would be completed by the end of this fiscal,” he said.

He was informed that as many as 28 different projects have been taken up by the PDD under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan at a cost of Rs. 709 crores, out of which Rs. 547 crore have been spent till now.

Referring to the physical achievements, Pandey was informed that 9 grid stations and 8 projects of transmission lines have been completed while as work on remaining 3 grid stations is apace.

Reviewing the progress achieved under centrally sponsored RGGVY, the meeting was informed that 248 habitations have been electrified while electrification of 225 habitations is under progress in Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla and Kupwara districts.

Referring to the revenue realization during last 2 years, it was informed that Rs. 475 crores have been collected as power tariff in Kashmir division during 2011-12 as against Rs. 363 crore during 2010-11.
Earlier, Pandey inspected under construction Data Cum Customer Care Centre of Electric Department, coming up at a cost of Rs. 4 crore at Bemina.

He was briefed about the different dimensions of the project. He was informed that Rs. One crore has been spent on the project so far.

Pandey directed the concerned executing agency to ensure completion of the building by June 2012 by working in three shifts under Fast Track Programme. He also directed concerned engineers to fix time line for procurement of necessary equipment so that its placement is ensured within the stipulated timeframe.

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