Chief Engineer, Power Development Department PDD Kashmir , Hashmat Qazi is an able administrator and professional of par excellence . In an exclusive interview with the News Kashmir, he talks to Rameez Makhdoomi .
What is your take on prevailing electricity crisis in Kashmir as it has got worse than previous years?
I don’t think there is electricity crisis in Kashmir and what qualifies as crisis is debatable. On the pragmatic side, we have as Power Development Department with reference to distribution system an agreement to provide 800 Megawatts to consumers but we are providing 1300 Megawatts much beyond the agreement. we have .
See during night almost there is negligible load shedding despite water heating and in day time heavy loading especially in form of room heating creates problems for us as people use much beyond their stated agreements.
We have our own power projects but still we face too much loadshedding. Your take?
I want to via your medium clear many things and set the record straight, see power availability is no problem for us as we can get 2500 Megawatts anytime, but irony is most of us are not aware that our grids do not have yet handling capacity and grid infrastructure everywhere is being upgraded to find a lasting solution to this problem. In coming months our capacity of handling is witnessing a leap of further 300 Megawatts, which means a great further stride forward .
On a larger point everyone without knowledge is making hue and cry that despite our own projects we don’t have continued power supply (I by no means we should not have due share in our projects. )
One more important things our water resource is not being consumed in these power projects ,it is not like coal or petroleum which gets depleted, water has to move anyway whether project is set on it or not.
Why we face more burning electricity issues in winters?
The biggest reason behind this phenomenon is that all our hydel power projects dependent on water and in winters flow of water gets depleted and they produce just about 25 percent of the power, and we literally produce not much thus dependent on importing power from outside states projects out of which some are nuclear and some thermal.
As you yourself told handling capacity is issue, what is being done to upgrade grid infrastructure?
Within a month or two a huge improvement in grid infrastructure is coming up with Grid at Delina to be augmented and several other grid stations coming, and in next eighteen months a boom is going to be witnessed with GIS Grid station coming up in the core of city at Nowshera and other in Batpora area unlike the previous ones which were located at peripheries.
In coming times our electricity scenario would improve greatly with dynamic and upgraded grid infrastructure coming up throughout length and breadth of kashmir.
What about rural areas as Kashmir is not just about Srinagar and districts like Bandipora and shopian face huge power cuts?
Well we are developing Srinagar as core and with infrastructure coming up here in shape of circular Aliastaing Grid, now the Zainakote grid feeding wanganpora, Habbak will go to North and similarly Pampore grid feeding Cheshmahi-Habbak circuit will go to south .With Delina grid to be upgraded to 160 Megawatts and Amargarh Grid also to be upgraded the situation will hugely improve.
Bandipora like areas have been Achilles heel for us as the huge power curtailments are reality there as the place has no grid of its own and gets partially fed from different grids Now within a month Bandipora having its own grid the power issues would get sorted out.
In South Kashmir grids were not big issue for us but clogging of lines is what creates problems in Kulgam Shopian and other areas and upgraded Lasipora grid and another grid coming up at Pulwama in next few months is going to resolve the issues there.
How can net transmission distribution power losses be curtailed?.
The biggest reason behind these losses is the power theft and it is mainly by domestic households and we are hopeful that by increased education, drives and awareness the power theft in coming years would come down.
Where do you see our power picture in 2020?
I am an optimist and I see very bright picture with reference to electricity in Kashmir in year 2020 and it is not just about building grids but ensuring we manage demand side and ensure judicious use of electricity and we are definitely taking steps in this regard.