JK may not meet 24×7 power target

As the electricity demand is likely to reach 4,217 MW by 2021-22 in the state and as work on the majority of the proposed hydropower projects is stalled, the ambitious plan of the PDP-BJP government to provide 24X7 power supply to the people by 2019 may remain a political rhetoric.
Instead, the state is heading for a major crisis in the coming years which could create further public discontent, if projects taken up for increasing generation and infrastructure development continue to get delayed.
Official sources said a survey conducted by the Union Ministry of Power had projected that J&K would have a peak demand of 4217 MW in 2021-22, with an energy requirement of 21,884million units. At the moment, the demand is about 2,000-2,200 MW.
To reach the target of 9,000 MW of power as projected by the state, a whopping investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in all sectors, state, central and joint venture and private, is needed. If all goes as planned, it will take more than a decade to stabilise the power sector.
“Hydropower projects take decades to complete and keeping in view the unexpected challenges, the Indus Water Treaty and political issues involved, the state is not expected to complete the existing projects on time. Several hydropower projects are already behind schedule,” said TK Koul, former Chief Engineer at the Baglihar hydropower project.
Despite hydropower potential estimated at 20,000 MW, of which about 16,697 MW has been identified, the state has failed to exploit its natural resources.
The projects like the 850-MW Rattle project on the Chenab in Kishtwar district was abandoned by the executing agency following a dispute with locals. Legal hurdles and dispute with locals have led to delay in starting the work on the Parnai Hydel Project in Poonch, 1,200 MW Sawalkote, 600 MW Kiru, 240 MW Kirthal, 50 MW Lower Kainal, 520 MW Kawar and 280 MW Ujh.
Even machines at old hydropower projects, which have outlived their lives, require renovation and modernisation andif not replaced or maintained could further decrease the productionof electricity.
However, Managing Director, J&K State Power Development Corporation, Shah Faesal said the major upgrade process of old hydropower projects had been started.
“The renovation, modernisation and upgrade process is going on and the government is actively renovating the old machinery. As far as the progress on stalled projects is concerned, the government is again reviving them,” said Shah Faesal.
The J&K State Power Development Corporation had drawn up a roadmap for systematic capacity addition in the 12th and 13th plan which will not only bridge the supply demand gap but also turn J&K into an energy-surplus state.

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