Srinagar, May 17: People in Jammu and Kashmir need to brace up for electricity getting costlier as the Centre has decided to privatize the power distribution companies in Union Territories (UTs) across the country.
Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, while unveiling the fourth tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to revive the COVID-19 hit economy said, “This will provide a model to be replicated in States later to improve efficiency and attract investment.”
It’s in place to mention here that soon after J&K’s reorganization Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department was unbundled. It stands divided into to two corporations Jammu Power Development Corporation Limited (JPDCL) and Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL). “The process to privatize the power sector in J&K (UT) has already commenced. It’s now just a matter of time before the entire system will be taken over by the private players,” an analyst told Precious Kashmir.
The head of JPDCL, Yasha Mudghal, had recently stated that process to install smart meters in Jammu region will be completed within next two years. Similarly, the process to have smart meters in place in Kashmir has already been initiated. “The electricity in J&K is all set to become prepaid. It will be like recharging your mobile phones,” the analyst added.
An observer said, “It seems that electricity is all set to become costlier and people will have to pay through their nose. One can understand that making electricity pre-paid is a part of the reforms which the government wants to put in place to provide better services to the people. But the moot point here is that can the consumers in Kashmir afford the electricity at such high rates. Everyone is aware about the fact that Kashmir economy is in shambles and people have been pushed to the wall. They have been witnessing conflict, shutdowns and restrictions for the past three decades. The outbreak of COVID-19 has worsened the situation further.”
The plan which has been unveiled for the power reforms states that it would focus on consumer rights, promotion of industry and sustainability of the power sector. “No one is against the development but the Centre needs to pay attention to the fact that J&K has potential to generate hydro-electricity and the people of the Jammu and Kashmir should get some extra benefits for it. If the hydel resources across J&K are utilized fully the Union Territory can become self-reliant and it will help in reviving the battered economy of J&K,” the observer added.
“Politicians, who ruled J&K in the past, just sold dreams to people on the name of development. And the power sector always remained neglected. The crux of the matter is that people of Kashmir should get ready to pay more for the electricity,” he said.