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, January 9, 2013

No Electricity in the House? It is J&K Government's Fault

A combination of government laxity/misgovernance, coupled with corruption, are main causes for blackouts in homes

JK Losing Hundreds of Crores for Non-Installation of Capacitors

Bashir Assad (Early Times)

Srinagar: Notwithstanding the fact that Technical and Commercial losses in power supply have reached up to 74% in Jammu and Kashmir, the Government has miserably failed to install capacitors at Grid and Receiving stations resulting in a loss of hundreds of crores on one hand and spending an equal amount in purchase of energy produced by Reactive Power Generation methodology from power trading companies.

In what can be termed as sheer negligence on part of the Government, the Jammu and Kashmir State is, according to estimates, losing Rs 62 crores annually due to non-installation of capacitors at grid and receiving stations despite the fact that AT&C losses in the State have gone up to 74% which is highest in the country. What is even more shocking is the fact that the J&K Power Development Department has been receiving funds for installation of capacitors since 2008 but not even a single capacitor has been installed till date which could have reduced the losses considerably on one hand and on the other hand could have reproduced energy worth Rs 62 crores annually from the consumed power.

The accumulated losses over a period of time run in hundreds of crores that could very well have been saved had the PDD installed required capacitors costing around Rs 50 crores as one-time cost. It is ironical to note that the department could not spare this meager amount from whopping power reform grants besides 1100 APDRP scheme in the past. And at the same time the negligence and insensitivity of the department which is directly under the control of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah can be gauged from the fact that it is importing Reactive Power produced from the capacitors from outside and the bill for the month of December, 2012 on account of reactive power is at Rs 1.39 crores.

Though Northern Regional Power Committee( NRPC) and State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) since long had been asking the PDD to install the capacitors for the twin purposes of producing reactive energy and minimizing the power losses, however, the department has shown no interest in it despite the fact that NRPC has been funding the PDD since 2008 for installation of capacitors. The SERC directed the Distribution Utility to prepare a roadmap to achieve 100% metering and installation of capacitors at all levels but all in vain because the Government could neither achieve the target of 100% metering nor it could install capacitors at the recommended levels.

Documents available with Early Times suggest that first installment of Rs. 22 Crores was sanctioned by NRPC in April 2008 vide its letter No. NREB/SE (c)/REACT/06 /2277 dated 10.04.2008 from Reactive pool account of NR to J&K for installation of capacitors. However, PDD has, for unknown reasons, shelved the project till date.

"Since the State of Jammu and Kashmir is subjected to low voltage networks, the need for installation of capacitors at grid and receiving station levels becomes all the more necessary to be operated in order to maintain voltages during peak and contingency conditions," Shakeel Qalander, a noted businessman and economic expert told Early Times.

Pertinently almost all industrial units in the State consuming above 100 KVs of power have installed their own capacitors in their factories that not only save their plant and machinery from damages but also save the State Government from burden of more than Rs 100 crores a year on additional reactive power consumption." However, neither the State nor Central Government departments have installed such capacitors while consuming huge power at their establishments.

The biggest defaulters in this regard are the departments of Irrigation and Public Health Engineering. It is an open secret now that PDD has so far installed capacitors only to the extent of 400 MVAR (mega volt ampere reactive) against required 1400 MVAR resulting in loss of over Rs 60 crores to the State exchequer every year. The accumulated losses over a period of time run in hundreds of crores that could very well have been saved had the PDD installed required capacitors costing around Rs 50 crores as one-time cost. It is ironical to note that the department could not spare this meagre amount from whopping power reform grants of 3900 crores besides 1100 APDRP scheme in the past.

However, no PDD official was available for comments, Power Development Commissioner, Manzur Salru did not attend the phone despite repeated calls while as Chief Engineer Power (purchases) VK Khajuria was attending a meeting.

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