Electricity remains dream for 10,000 Kashmiri villages
Electricity generation in Indian-controlled Kashmir is more that 100
years old affair. It was in 1905 that region's first Hydro Power House
started generating electricity and illuminating the houses.
However, 104 years down the line, hundreds of the villages and
hamlets are yet to be electrified, says a recent government survey
conducted by a Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency in the
region, putting the number of un-electrified villages and hamlets at 309
and 9,525 respectively.
"As per the survey in every district of this state, we have un-
electrified villages and hamlets.
Even in the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu, we have such
villages and hamlets," said a government official.
Residents in these villages have been relying on traditional methods
as a means to illuminate their rooms during evenings.
They accuse the government apathy as the reason for non-availability
of electricity in their villages.
"Politicians who get elected from our areas have been promising us
that electricity supply would be ensured. But the promises are yet to be
translated into reality.
We light the wood or oil lamps to keep the rooms glowing during
evenings," said Jalal-u-Din, an elderly person of Halanpati village of
The power development department officials have been saying that
electrification of such villages through conventional grid is
technically not permissible and would be economically unviable.
While India-controlled Kashmir has the potential to generate around
20,000 MW of electricity, hitherto only 13 percent of this huge
potential has been explored.
The government has been able to tap about 1500 MW of electricity, out
of that 1,170 MW belong to federal sector. From this, the region gets
just a minuscule of royalty.
"Kashmir has the history of hosting one of the earliest, in fact
second, hydro power houses in entire South Asia way back in 1905, with
the first power house was build in Mysore in Karnataka, southern India.
More than 100 years have passed but the potential is nowhere to be
tapped as the corruption, disinterested government, flawed policies,
political instability and other reasons have marred the process," says
Haroon Mirani, Srinagar based analyst.
The region has a demand of about 1,500 MW. However, it is not met by
current power availability of about 800 MW.
As a result there are power cuts of about 10 hours daily and in
winters the load shedding can shoot beyond 20 hours a day.
Experts say the water-sharing pact reached by Indian and Pakistan in
1960 known as Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is an impediment in harnessing
the power potential in India-controlled Kashmir. Xinhua