Lighting up households
Power issues and the reforms the sector needs have been always making news in Jammu and Kashmir. The region which is dependent on most of its power needs on imports from the northern grid has been witnessing huge losses over the years and the subsequent governments have failed to address this crucial issue.
The various schemes that are right now being implemented to initiate long term reforms have been initiated but the same are facing stiff resistance at various levels of execution.
At present Jammu and Kashmir imports power worth Rs 6000 Cr annually but the losses in the sector amount to Rs 3400 Crore as the UT is able to fetch a revenue of just Rs 2600 Cr annually. The UT continues to face huge Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses besides, huge power thefts across the region.
These harsh facts tell us that the UT is in need of serious power reforms for which efforts as well as a strong will is needed to turn the tables around.
These reforms can be achieved under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana Saubhagya as the union territory has already accomplished the 100 percent target of rural electrification.
The administration has proactively worked in ensuring electrification to every village which is visible from the fact that almost four lakh households have been electrified across UT.
Notably, the initiation and follow up on reforms in power sector in JK has caught the attention of the Union government which announced a reward of Rs 100 crore for JK as it achieved the target of 100 percent electrification ahead of the timeline last year.
Interestingly, Jammu and Kashmir is faced with many natural barriers like mountainous terrains and tough topography of the region and providing energy access in these hard locations was a distant dream just a couple of years ago.
However, for the first time after independence, various villages across JK saw the light of an electric bulb.
The Saubhagya scheme was launched in 2017 with the objective of achieving Universal Household Electrification in the country through last-mile connectivity and providing access to electricity to all un-electrified households in rural areas and poor households in urban areas.
Under the scheme, distribution companies (DISCOMs) organised camps in villages or clusters of villages to facilitate on-the-spot filling up of application forms including the release of electricity connections to households.
Data suggests that with a 100 percent electrification target being achieved, the administration’s focus is now to provide consistent electricity at affordable rates, power tariff reforms, last-mile connectivity and electricity connections to all households in rural and urban areas.
However, one important thing that we as people of the region have to understand that we have to cooperate with the authorities so that the power reforms are implemented and the sector records an improvement in performance.
These measures can alone ensure a dependable power supply in the region which has otherwise eluded the common consumers so far.