Srinagar, November 18
Kashmir is mired in a deepening power crisis with both urban and rural areas bearing the brunt of unscheduled load-shedding.
No corner of the region has been spared from the power crisis, with rural areas facing the harshest consequences.
Former Cabinet minister and PDP leader Naeem Akhtar shared a picture of a candle in a vase on social media, illustrating the “candlelight lifestyle” as a symbolic representation of the challenges faced by the residents in Kashmir due to the ongoing crisis.
The “candlelight lifestyle” reflects the return to more traditional and basic forms of lighting as a consequence of prolonged power outages.
Naqash Sarwar, retired bureaucrat, commented on Akhtar’s post, “Moving back to lantern age. Courtesy — our new development.”
Farooq Ahmad, a resident of Wagoora in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, said, “For the past two weeks, we have been facing long and frequent power outages, at times up to 15 hours. My mother is completely dependent on oxygen concentrators and is facing severe breathing problem. Even electric generators can’t work non-stop.”
“Officials at Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) are clueless about how to bring relief to the consumers,” Ahmad said.
Pulwama in south Kashmir is also grappling with severe electricity crisis this year, witnessing frequent and prolonged power cuts during both during the day and night, even in metered areas.
Ghulam Ahmad Bhat of Karimabad Pulwama said frequent and unscheduled power cuts had made life miserable for his family. “I have bought candles after many years to have dinner,” Bhat said.
A senior official from the KPDCL said forced curtailment reached a staggering 1,000MW on Friday, underscoring a significant disparity between power demand and availability.
“The power curtailment schedule announced by the KPDCL is hardly followed. The widening gap between power requirement and availability leaves no room for adherence to schedules. The only viable solution is to purchase more power to meet the burgeoning demand,” he said.
Electricity is often unavailable at night, and the situation worsens in hilly and remote areas.
The frequent power outages have affected the businesses in the manufacturing and service sectors as workers are not able to work seamlessly in the absence of electricity.
Munawar Ahmad, a businessman in Srinagar, said the power crisis had badly affected his business of manufacturing transformers and other electric appliances.
For continuous power supply in Kashmir, 2,200MW of electricity is required, and to follow the curtailment schedule, 1,650MW is needed. Javed Yousuf, the chief engineer of the KPDCL, said they managed to supply 1,400-1,500MW to the Kashmir valley daily.
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