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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Does Anyone Believe in a Free Lunch?

Because Kashmiris do believe in receiving something for nothing in so far as having unmetered (free) access to electricity is concerned. Two reports

99% of Kashmiris Power Thieves: PDD

Wasim Khalid (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar: There is no respite in power curtailment in sight with the authorities alleging that 99 per cent of population in Kashmir valley was involved in power theft leading to the present crisis.

Chief Engineer, Power Development Department (PDD), Maintenance and Rural Electrification Division,  Muzzafar Matooo said people living in both metered and unmetered areas were involved in power theft. “99 per cent population of valley is using stolen electricity. How are you going to provide electricity when people in unmetered areas consume six kilowatts against the agreement of half a kilowatt,” he said.

Matoo alleged that people living in metered areas also resorted to power theft. “They temper with meters and also resort to hooking,” he said. Asked why PDD was not stopping people from indulging in power thefts, particularly in metered areas, he said the department was not in a position to enforce writ on the entire population of Kashmir. “We are short of manpower and resources to check rampant illegal use of power. I cannot put linemen and other squad outside each house and prevent people from doing so,” the chief engineer said.

Against 750 megawatts of power in all categories, he said, they have to supply extra 500 MWs to meet the requirement. The metered areas are presently experiencing one-day load shedding while unmetered areas have to face it for three days a week. Besides, people also have to face periodic unscheduled power shutdowns each day which can range from three to 10 hours.

No Takers for Voluntary Load Disclosure Scheme 

Ashwani Langeh (Greater Kashmir) 

Jammu: Voluntary Load Disclosure Scheme (VLDS) introduced by Jammu Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD) to check the use of unauthorized load by the consumers, has failed to yield desired results as till date only one percent consumers have turned up voluntarily to disclose actual load. With this scheme, the JKPDD in its notifications on May 16, had given an opportunity to the consumers of various categories to regularise their unauthorized load up to July 9, 2010. The department had requested the consumers to come forward and voluntarily disclose their power load to avoid any penal action under section 95 of Jammu Kashmir Electricity Act 2010. 

Sources, however, informed that initially the VLDS scheme was intended for about 1 lakh consumers in domestic and commercial category particularly in urban centres, but so far only 1 percent of the consumers have turned up to the department for disclosing load under ‘Amnesty Period’. 

Sources said that the department may have to extend the time period under the scheme for another month to enable the consumers to disclose their load. “We will be launching a state wide campaign immediately after the amnesty scheme is over and consumer found using power in addition to their sanctioned load will be panelized”, a senior officer of Power Development Department said. 

“In absence of the actual data of installed load, JKPDD is unable to plan and upgrade the existing transmission and distribution system to cater the actual load”, he said adding, this leads to more interruptions/breakdowns of power supply. Besides this unregistered load also lead to extensive damage to distribution transformers and other network, added sources. 

It is pertinent to mention here that the Section 95 (1) of the Jammu Kashmir Electricity Act 2010 says that whoever dishonestly hooks main power lines, tampers with meters, installs or uses a tampered meter, current reversing transformer, loop connection or any other device which interferes with accurate or proper registration, calibration or metering of electric current can also face up to one month in jail. 

Also, Jammu Kashmir has threatening 63% transmission and distribution losses against 26% in rest of the country, about 9.2 lakh unregistered households, 13 lakh unmetered houses, 40% transformer damage against 2.5 % in rest of the country and 3 times increase in actual load than capacity.

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