Power key enabler to rebound JK economy, says Mehbooba

CM takes briefing of Power Development Department

To address the complex issues confronting Power sector in the state, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, Thursday, asked the Power Development Department (PDD) to devise a comprehensive roadmap in view of the distress in power generation, transmission and distribution systems so that quality power supply is ensured to the consumers.  

She also advised the department to take all necessary steps to clear mounting liabilities on account of power purchase. “Power is a key enabler for fueling a rebound in the economy for which PDD will have to firm up timelines to ensure timely execution of projects. The power scenario remains sluggish and we need to do more, as the state has potential to generate far more,” she observed.

The Chief Minister said this while chairing a high-level meeting to review the functioning of PDD. Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal K. Singh, who also holds the charge of the Power portfolio, also attended the meeting.

Also present were Minister for Finance, Labour & Employment, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu, Minister of State for Haj & Auqaf , PHE, I&FC, I&C and Power, Syed Farooq Ahmad Andrabi, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Financial Commissioner, Planning & Development, B. B. Vyas and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Navin K. Chaudhary, Commissioner Secretary Power, Dheeraj Gupta.

Raising certain specific issues which are a drag on power sector, Mehbooba Mufti asked PDD to harness the identified power potential of around 15,000 MW, out of which the State is only able to generate a capacity of 3,272 MW. 

Against an amount of Rs.5,247 crore required for power purchase, a budgetary allocation of Rs.3785 crore has been made. To meet the widening gap between power purchased and revenue realized, the Chief Minister was informed that the shortfall will have to be bridged by issuance of bonds by the State government.

To ease constraints, Mehbooba Mufti urged PDD to remove impediments in commissioning of under-execution state sector projects like Parnai, Lower Kalnai, Hanu & Dah as well as those in IPP like Rattle HEP within the stipulated timelines. “Active forward movement is required on stranded projects,” she observed.

The Chief Minister was presented with a roadmap for capacity addition for the next six years that envisages 6254.50 MW generation of power through 13 state sector, 1679 MW through 5 central sector and 1210 MW through big and small IPP projects.

On T&D infrastructure, ‘Power For All’ (PFA) and Flagship schemes, the Chief Minister insisted upon augmentation, upgradation and renovation of existing systems, keeping in view the insufficient infrastructure to meet the power demand in the state. To show signs of credible recovery, she asked the Power Secretary to ease bottlenecks in implementation of flagship schemes like RAPDRP (Restructured Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme), DDUGJY (Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Gram Jyoti Yojana) and IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme), where the current status presents a grim picture.     

The Power Secretary said the T&D losses will be contained once systems’ improvement takes place under various flagship schemes.

To overcome the hardships faced by people due to power shortage in hot summer months in Jammu, the Chief Minister directed PDD to work out a ‘Summer Preparedness Plan’ which ensures adequate availability and strict adherence to power cut schedule so that consumers do not face any hardships.

She was informed by the Power Secretary that against a load of 840 MW in March, the demand increases to 970 MW in June, predominantly on account of increase in cooling irrigation and PHE load. To address this, he said power drawal at the transmission level is being enhanced by 300 MW as a result of augmentation of Hiranagar Gladni 220 KV Line by May 15 next month.

An amount of Rs.2000 crore has also been kept in the Prime Minister’s Development Package for mini-hydel projects, between 9-15 MW, which will help in further harnessing the power potential in the state, the meeting was told.   

Drawing a comparison between actual revenue realization and consumer metering status in the state, the Finance Minister suggested to the Chief Minister mapping of actual consumers by linking data of Power Department with CA&PD and Sates Tax Departments. This, he said will enable the department to broaden the net of actual consumers which will result in a corresponding increase in revenue realization.

An amount of Rs.1937.27 crore has been realized from 16,25,422 consumers in 2015-16, which is an increase of only 11.6 per cent, as compared to 2014-15 figures.     

The Chief Minister was also briefed about ‘Power for All’ which aims at ensuring uninterrupted supply of power to existing consumers and providing access to electricity to all unconnected consumers in a time-bound manner by 2019-20. As many as 108 villages are still un-electrified in the state, which PDD is targeting to cover over the next three years.

Presenting a brief of short-term deliverables, the Power Secretary apprised the Chief Minister about some of the measures the department will take over the next six months to improve the power scenario. These include ‘Energy Efficient Lighting’ through UJALA Scheme for domestic consumers, government departments and streetlights; setting up of two state-of-the-art testing labs and 120 mobile meter test benches for each subdivision; replacement of barbed wire / conductors and worn out poles through an institutional mechanism headed by respective DCs; evacuation of 120 MW from Ranjit Sagar Dam (Thein Dam) and showcasing two areas in Capital Cities of Jammu and Srinagar as models under RAPDRP.

The Chief Minister asked Power Secretary to incentivize metering by linking it with UJALA scheme, an LED based domestic lighting initiative under which 80 lakh LEDs will be distributed amongst domestic consumers. She was informed that the scheme will be rolled out by May 15 next month and if implemented successfully, the state will recover investment by saving on energy.

The meeting was informed that about 2 lakh electronic meters shall be installed under RAPDRP in Jammu & Srinagar by March 2017 while as ‘Smart Grids’ in six pilot towns will also be undertaken for which DPRs have been framed.

“Once feeder metering is completed in the entire state over the next six months, we will be able to undertake energy auditing which will be a huge achievement for the department,” he told the Chief Minister.

The Deputy Chief Minister, in his remarks, highlighted the steps taken by the department in reducing transmission and distribution losses. He said PDD is making strenuous efforts to ensure Power for All by covering all un-electrified habitations.  

Development Commissioner, Power, Gul Ayaz, Chief Engineers, M&RE, Bashir Ahmad Khan and Ashwani Gupta, Executive Director, JKSPDC, M. A. Lanker and Asgar Ali, Secretary Tech, besides several other senior officers attended the meeting.