Srinagar, 18 June: Chief Engineer Power Development Department, Kashmir, Aijaz Ahmad Dar said that hopefully after next 10 months, the department will proudly say that no utility pole or wire is in a damaged condition across the valley.
In an exclusive interview with Kashmir News Bureau, Chief Engineer Dar said that the overall power situation in Kashmir is better than during the winter season.
“As compared to winter seasons in Kashmir, there is no curtailment in electricity in areas where Power Meters are already installed. In Srinagar district, there is no curtailment in electricity supply even in non metered areas,” he said, adding that there are few pockets in North and South Kashmir, where because of receiving station constraints or other restrictions, a few hours of curtailment takes place even though at times the department tries their best not to do so.
Regarding the energy, he said, “Last year 220 lakh units was given out by the department but in this year so far, 30 Lakh units more has been provided.”
“As per the figures received by the department a day ago, 250 Lakh Units was given out, which somewhat calculates to 1000 megawatts of energy being loaded in the system for a single day and night,” he added.
He said that the peak load stands at 1,200 to 1,300 megawatts per day but during the night, the load falls less than a 1000.
The Chief Engineer said that overall the situation is good and not many complaints regarding electricity supply have been received lately.
“As compared to the damage to of step down transformers during winter in Kashmir which used to be around 70-80, now that has been restricted to 15-60,” he said, adding that as per the timeline given out by the LG Administration, the department makes sure that the damaged transformers are repaired and installed back without much delay.
Regarding the fact that there are still wooden poles and transformers installed at a low height, which causes certain threat to general public, Ahmad Dar said, “Ministry of Power has approved ‘barbed wire scheme’ and under it’s phase one, 37 crore was approved and 80 percent of work which comes under this phase has been completed.”
He said that repairing and replacement of poles has been done in several areas already and a number of conductors have been ordered as well but due to the Covid-19 pandemic the delivery has been delayed. “Once the delivery of the conductors is done, the rest of the work under phase one will be completed,” he added.
Regarding the Phase Two of the scheme, He said that the tendering process will be initiated soon and all the work under the Phase will be allotted within 45-50 days.
He assured, “All the working process is going on and hopefully after next 10 months, the department will proudly say that no pole or wire is in a damaged condition across the valley.”
Regarding the employees who lost their lives in Kashmir allegedly due to lack of safety equipment, Aijaz Ahmad Dar said, “I have always felt sad about these accidents in which the employees of the department lose their precious lives. But whenever any fault comes up due to storms, snowfall or any other reason, I always provide the staff ample amount of time to fix it.”
“Not following the Standard Operating Procedures has been the major cause of these unfortunate accidents. Secondly, I am not going to claim that we have provided all the workers safety equipment but we are providing the gear to every single one the employees and it is a continued process,” he said, adding that that in emergency repairmen or other related cases the employees do not put on their safety gear which in several cases resulted in unfortunate accidents.
He emphasized that the department has nominated safety officers to conduct proper training sessions so that such accidents are eradicated.
The Chief Engineer said that there is no particular training institute in Kashmir but the department does have a wing which conducts training of the employees on a regular basis. “Safety and working tools are provided to all the trainees after the completion of the sessions,” he said, adding that mock drills are also conducted each year.
Regarding the promotion of casual labours, daily wagers, TDL and PDL working under the PDD, Chief Engineer Aijaz Dar said, “When it comes to Promotion Committees of the concerned departments, basically, because of privatization that took place last year, to quite some extent the departmental promotion process have been curtailed but this year the department will ensure that wherever there has been any delay in eligible cases, will be completed.”
Moreover, about the regularization of TDP and PDL, he said that due to the DPC in 2019, rules have changed but the concerned file has gone to the Secretariat and once the approval comes, steps will be taken.
The Chief Engineer PDD Kashmir, Aijaz Ahmad Dar also said that under the PMDP Rural and Urban number of work is being completed.
“Over all there are several schemes worth 25 billion implemented in Kashmir region only due to which the whole system is getting much required boost,” he said.
About the Centre’s Saubhagya scheme in Jammu and Kashmir, Ahmad Dar said that under the scheme 1300 transformers were installed and the scheme was closed in 2019.
“Due to the lack of coordination from the contractors during the second phase of the tendering we could not complete the remaining work,” he said, adding that under several other schemes the department is trying to complete it.
The Chief Engineer mentioned in the interview that out of the 10 Lakh consumers under the department, 3.5 lakh are metered consumers.
“6.5 lakh consumers are yet to be metered,” he said.
Moreover, Ahmad Dar said that the improvement is certainly there in the department towards the consumers and other related matters, but everything takes time.
Responding to a question about the provisions kept by the department for the employees, who get injured in the line of work, Chief Engineer Dar said that their expenses are covered under the Centre’s insurance schemes.
He said that apart from that, a guideline has been established already, under which those employees who get injured will be compensated accordingly and there is a compensation of 10 lakh rupees for those who lose their life in the line of work.
“On personnel levels, we also voluntarily contribute to support any employee who sustains injury while performing the duty,” he added.
Talking about the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic over the PDD Department, the Chief Engineer said that an XEN and AEE lost their lives due to the Covid-19 and several others were affected as well.
“During the second wave of the pandemic, we have tried our best to maintain stability of power supply and round the clock employees were present at different situations to ensure everything goes smoothly, especially for the people on ventilators and oxygen concentrators,” he said.
He emphasized that during these unprecedented times, the department is very much satisfied that uninterrupted power supply especially for oxygen plants, hospitals as well as the general public was ensured.
The Chief Engineer Aijaz Ahmad Dar further thanked and also requested the employees of the department to ensure Standard Operating Procedures are followed while performing their duty.
“I am thankful for the service of my employees towards the people and the department, especially knowing the risks of contacting the Covid-19 and yet being present at their stations all the time. But I want them to know that their lives are more important than anything else and they must ensure their safety first while performing their duty,” he said, further requesting the customers to use the electricity judiciously.