PDP slams centre’s power policy in Kashmir

December 1st, 2009 - 8:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Srinagar, Dec 1 (IANS) The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday slammed the central government for allotting large electric power projects in Jammu and Kashmir to NHPC Ltd and leaving “crumbs in the form of mini hydel projects” for the state government.
The PDP, in a statement here, said the decision of the central government announced here during the visit of the team headed by power secretary last month had “come as a cruel joke since the Valley is presently reeling under one of its worst electric power crisis against which public demonstrations are being held by the people”.

The statement said the decision to leave the state with the ownership of just the mini hydel power projects, “which have all failed without a single exception all over the state” and handing over the ownership of the large electric power projects to NHPC — formerly called National Hydroelectric Power Corp — from which the state has to finally buy electric power for the consumers, exposes the “insensitivity and callousness” of the central government.

The party said the decision to allow the NHPC to exploit all the major power potential of the state would increase the alienation of the people.

Referring to the PDP’s stand on water resources, it said: “It is the belief of the party that the state should get back the control over this most vital resource for its economic self reliance, employment of its people and dignified existence as a political entity within the union.

“The PDP wants all shades of opinion to rise above political consideration in launching a joint campaign for re-negotiating the terms with NHPC, returning the projects that have earned many times more than their cost and for future facilitation to the state for harnessing its river water.

“The centre should implement the Rangarajan Committee recommendations forthwith and return the Dulhasti, Salal and Uri power projects to the state to infuse an element of credibility to its efforts aimed at finding a solution to Kashmir issue.”

Frequent unscheduled curtailment of electric power supply and the low voltages when supply is restored has been a chronic problem faced by Kashmir residents for decades.

Despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announcing an additional 500 MW to the state from the central pool, the situation continues to be grim, often resulting in violent clashes between the locals and the police here.

The situation is even grimmer in the far-flung rural areas where power supply remains disrupted for days on end, causing extreme inconvenience to the residents during the winter months when temperatures fall below the freezing point.

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