Jammu, May 22: The heat wave coupled with electricity failure in Jammu has already turned these summers as one of the worst for the residents of the winter capital. The Power Development Department (PDD) in the earlier years used to stick to fixed time-tables for power cuts in a given area but this year it has seemed as if the power cuts are being forced at will of untrained people.
The power outages have become common even in the night hours leaving Jammuites sleepless. The fluctuation has been reason for heavy and unsustainable losses for the business community.
The constant cuts which stretch to over eight hours everyday have shown PDD’s preparation for extreme weather conditions and the summers have not yet hit their peak.
The secretariat has moved to Kashmir and a boiling Jammu is no politician’s concern. Not only this, due to sharp fluctuations, expensive electronic gadgets such as televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators, stabilizers can go bust.
No doubt the load rises as the summer hots up but this fact is known to anyone working at the PDD. They should put in place measures, that would minimise the misery of the residents. When paying the bills and associated fines are made to pay, why is not the PDD made to pay for its failures every summer?
According to a media report, 100 transformers have been damaged since the outset of this summer and PDD seemingly is not equipped to do anything to meet the demands of ACs and coolers.
Maybe it would do well for the PDD to know that lack of electricity in the night leads to sleepless people and sleepless people can get angry pretty quickly.
50 lakh people may face ‘power blackout’ in J&K
Nearly 50 lakh people in Jammu and Kashmir could face long-term “power blackout” as upgradation and plans to replace old equipment at grid stations and sub-stations are tangled in slow tendering process.Senior officials in the Power Development Department (PDD) admitted that the ruling PDP-BJP coalition government continued to ignore speeding up modernisation of infrastructure at grid stations despite engineers seeking additional funds for maintenance and operations.
Interestingly, mere Rs 4.85 crore have been kept for annual operations and maintenance for assets worth Rs 1,220 crore.The situation is more alarming in the Jammu region as the Gladni sub-station which supplies electricity to Jammu, Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur districts has witnessed two forced shutdowns in the last one month.
Sophisticated equipment at grid stations is witnessing regular breakdowns, hitting the people hard during the sweltering summer. The grids at Udhampur, Hiranagar, Barn, Bishnah and Ramban, which are lifeline to lakhs of people, face similar problems.
A senior PDD engineer said much of equipment needed was stuck due to slow process of tender approval. “Everything has to go through tenders now, we cannot bring spares directly. We also need long shutdown period which is not possible in summer. Shortage of manpower is also impacting grid operations,” an official alleged.
On April 16, a overheated current transformer connecting high tension line with Gladni-Sidhra-Janipur high tension transformer caught fire while on May 20 short-circuit set alarm bells ringing. It was sheer luck that the region was saved from the 2008-like breakdown when during the Amarnath land agitation mysterious fires had destroyed 400-kv transformer, forcing authorities to impose 16-hour shutdowns in the Jammu region for two months.
When contacted, Superintending Engineer, System & Operation (Gladni), Gurvinder Singh said the old machinery would be replaced during the next one year. “Tenders have been floated and as per the new policy of the government all old equipment except transformers would be replaced within next one year,” Gurvinder Singh said.
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