Srinagar: Almost entire Kashmir valley, including summer capital, Srinagar, was plunged into darkness during the past 24 hours due to major power breakdown following light to moderate snowfall, exposing the Power Development Department (PDD) claims to have made all arrangements for electricity supply to consumers during winter.
Power supply remained affected even after Advisor to Governor Khursheed Ahmad Ganai during a meeting on Saturday evening directed the PDD officials to restore the supply immediately.
However, Chief Engineer PDD Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi, on Saturday evening said that heavy snowfall in the Valley has resulted in trees with thick foliage coming down heavily on electrical lines damaging most of the 33KV lines resulting in power disruption.
Immediately after snowfall started in Srinagar yesterday afternoon, electricity supply to major parts of the city were snapped affecting government offices, media organizations, business establishments. Power breakdown will badly affect water supply in the city. Reports of disruption of power supply were also received from almost all parts of the valley.
It is reported that due to snowfall transmission lines were damaged as at some places trees were uprooted and fell on them (lines) disruption power supply. However, people questioned the claim of PDD that the department was ready to face any situation and will provide power supply to people during winter. The department was actually buried under few inches of snow as entire city is plunged into darkness. We are actually facing the frequent and unscheduled power cuts since the civil secretariat, seat of the government, including the office of Governor, his advisors, top bureaucrats closed here to reopen in winter capital Jammu on November 5, alleged the residents of uptown. Power curtailment will continue till the government returns back to summer capital, Srinagar, they said.
An official spokesman last evening said that advisor to Mr Ganai on Saturday chaired a joint meeting of PDD and PHE departments to review their functioning. During the meeting, Advisor Ganai directed the officials to stay cautious and alert in the functioning of their respective departments so that no inconvenience is faced by the general public. He asked the concerned officers to have buffer stock in respect of transformers so that incase of damage, same is restored immediately.
While instructing the Chief Engineers to immediately carve out a circular for the grassroot level officers and engineers to strengthen restoration process in the shortest possible time, so that no inconvenience is faced by the general public. Advisor Ganai and Divisional Commissioner directed the officials to take strict action against erring officials who are found in dereliction of duties.
Stressing on the officials to follow proper Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Advisor Ganai directed them to restore the transformers within 24 hours in case of any damage and other repair works should be carried out in the shortest possible time.
Directing the PDD officials to put the Power curtailment schedule in the public domain, the department reverted that it has been fixed as 3 hour power curtailment in metered area while as 4 to 5 hour power curtailment in non-metered areas.
He directed the Divisional Commissioner, who is personally monitoring the whole process, to exhort upon the officers to be careful in order to ensure proper water supply and electricity.
In order to streamline the process of recovery of power tariff and to stop the pilferage, Advisor Ganai asked the department to come up with innovative and novel ideas so that pilferage is stopped.
Stressing on encouraging the online payment system for electricity which will be of great ease to the people, Advisor Ganai suggested that JK Bank should take appropriate measures to stream line computerised online payment system so as to bring transparency, efficiency and accountability in the payment system.
While reviewing the water supply positioning, Chief Engineer informed in the meeting that the water sources have been charged due to the recent rains and therefore augmented the water supply.
PHE officials informed that the department has 110 water tankers in their possession and made the requisition of additional 20 water tankers for the better water supply.
Advisor Ganai directed the Chief Engineer PDD to provide uninterrupted power supply to the water stations so as to ensure maximum water supply to public. He asked the concerned officials to work with zeal and emphasised that no complaints should be received from the public with regards to the supply of water and electricity.
Spokesman said Ganai, has directed the Divisional Administration to restore road communication and power supply immediately without further loss of time.
Ganai also directed the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Mr. Baseer Ahmed Khan, to take strong action against any official found absent from the headquarters or not performing his duties. He further directed the Deputy Commissioners and Director School Education Kashmir to make proper arrangements for smooth conduct of ongoing Board examinations and transport arrangements for the examinees.
The Advisor said that he will monitor the situation on a continuous basis and also inform the Governor of the progress.
Chief Engineer PDD Mr Qazi, has said that heavy snowfall in the Valley has resulted in trees with thick foliage coming down heavily on electrical lines damaging most of the 33KV lines.
He said intermittent rainfall and now heavy snowfall led to frequent faults in the electrical system affecting supply in most parts of the uptown and civil line areas of Srinagar.
Qazi said two main trunk lines including Centaur and TRC coming from Cheshmashahi have come down after huge trees fell on them, adding that Karan Nagar and Barbar Shah lines are also under trees at various places but that restoration process is well underway.
He said a full-fledged restoration work has been underway but continuous snowfall has made it very difficult to maintain the lines resulting in decreased power supply to just 80 MWs as against the normal 1150 MWs supplied this morning.
The Chief Engineer said the department is doing all that is possible to restore all lines as soon as possible having pressed into service all its men and machinery.