Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited has issued the first power curtailment schedule for this year’s winter and is applicable till November 23. Even as one would have hoped, it is not the case that on its expiry, there would be no curtailment. It is rather the beginning of what challenges await the people of Kashmir as winter gets harsher. The first schedule provides 3 hours curtailment for metered feeders (1 hour in each slot) and 4 hours for non metered feeders (in 3 slots). As per official dictum, the “unrestricted load” is going up and a gap in supply which leads to the curtailments. The past winters have been harsher in terms of curtailments. The people had to bear three evening cuts running for five hours per day, two to three nightlong besides morning and day cuts every week on rotational basis.
Official claims of improvements including increasing the power generation and reducing transmission losses notwithstanding, the power scenario is far from being satisfactory, the one which would satisfy the needs of the people.
For people associated with small and big industries, the power cuts have a telling bearing on their businesses.
Kashmir’s power problems are perennial despite its huge hydropower potential. The grim electricity scenario is astonishing and depicts failures of successive governments to ensure power woes do not haunt people in such as magnitude year after year despite power generation capacity increased. J&K happened to be only second place in the subcontinent, after the State of Mysore, to have a hydropower house during the first decade of 20th century as Mohura Power House, the run-of-river scheme with the initial installed capacity of 4 megawatt (MW), which was commissioned in 1905. The power house is said to have lit up thousands of houses and supported small industries of the time. More than 11 decades later, the problem of better power scenario, especially during winters, is only growing. As per officials the state-owned power generation projects are capable to generate only 90 MW every day due to low water discharge in local rivers against the requirement of 923 MW every day. The people fear a scary scenario deep into the winter. However, fingers are crossed that the JKPDCL that does not come up with a curtailment schedule that runs for longer durations.