Though the Modi government says that all villages in the country have been electrified, the number of unelectrified households in Jammu and Kashmir has increased by more than 32,000 during the past two years.
The number of un-electrified households in the state that was 3.56 lakh in 2016, has increased to 3.88 lakh this year, according to figures provided by the secretary PDD, Hirdesh Kumar, to the Governor during a meeting.
With that high figure, the government was unlikely to meet the target of electrifying all households by the end of this year. The Centre has allocated Rs 1100 crores for the purpose. Authorities have been going slow on the Centrally- funded scheme of providing electricity to every household in the state, as a result of which the number of houses without electricity is increasing.
In 2016, the J&K government’s then PDD secretary, Dhiraj Gupta, signed a joint statement with Jyoti Arora, joint secretary in the Union Ministry of power, for augmenting the power sector and providing 24×7 electric supply by 2019. But the number of un-electrified households has increased since then.
Taking a serious view of the lapse, Governor NN Vohra held a high level meeting to review the ground situation wherein he ordered the concerned departments to expedite the job and reduce the huge losses in the power sector.
It is worth mentioning that in the absence of a proper electricity board in Jammu and Kashmir, the power development department (PDD) has come to be known as one of the most corrupt organisations whose certain officials were allegedly causing huge transmission losses of over 45 percent that was perhaps highest in the country.
There were allegations that officials of the PDD were creating hurdles in smooth implementation of the Centrally- funded scheme by the IRCON to replace the traditional steel electric wires with rubber coated ones and install prepaid meters to curb power theft.
At the time of signing the joint statement in 2016, it was stated that 8,92,632 domestic power connections in the state were metered while 6,45,385 were unmetered.
Official figures indicate that power theft in Kashmir Valley was higher than in the Jammu division. Against lesser supply of 10,778 million units of electricity in the Jammu division between April 2015 to November 2016, the PDD realised a revenue of Rs.1703 crore, whereas against the consumption of 13,304 million units in the Kashmir Valley the revenue realisation was Rs.1120 crore.