Another failure of PDD
It seems that the Power Development Departments (PDD) tryst with failure is destined to be its prospect. Just when the department had offered dreams and promises to the people of the valley about the improvement in power availability after the commissioning of Alesteng grid, everything went awry.
The Alesteng grid which was scheduled to be completed by December 2018 and commissioned thereafter would have enhanced the power import capacity to Kashmir by another 250-MW, addressing the severe power crisis in the Valley to some extent.
Though the works in the grid were finalized and even some test charging too was done but it dawned on the officials of the PDD that the transmission lines which will connect the Alesteng grid with the Zainakote grid are yet to be erected.
The transmission lines comprise 158 towers and while 130 towers have been erected, the foundation has been laid for another 26 but no works have been carried out since there is a dispute over land for setting up few towers in Budgam area.
It is not surprising that the issue crept up at the last moment but this land dispute issue had figured years back and the officials in the Budgam administration and the PDD did not take the issue on priority so that the crisis that has crept in could have been avoided.
The failure of the district administration in Budgam and the officials of the PDD need to be taken to task for this criminal negligence which has not only delayed the commissioning of the grid but has put the entire population in the valley to trouble.
The Valley at present has a peak demand of around 1900 MW. But the existing transmission system has the capacity to import only 1250 MW. With Alestang grid functioning, this capacity would go up to 1500 MW. It would not only take care of unscheduled power cuts but also ensure better power supply, but the officials have not bothered to take the crisis seriously.
The way the minor issue of the land dispute and construction of seome 26 transmission towers was not taken care of by the officials shows how things are working in the administration and the particular department that was tasked to get the things cleared.
It is surprising that such an important issue wasn’t taken care of all these years. The blame lies with both district administration and authorities in the power department who didn’t bother to resolve the issue beforehand.
Notably, the grid station was approved by then Congress-led UPA government at the Centre in 2006. But despite availability of the funds, the project construction was delayed and it was only last year, that the then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti set November 2018 deadline for completing the project.
The delay that has been caused should be taken serious note of and the officials within the PDD and the Budgam administration should be taken to task. The governor should fix responsibilities and take action against the officials who have been part of this criminal negligence.