While the general public especially in the Kashmir valley is punished with massive power cuts, it has been seen that power development department has failed to collect the power bills worth crores from the various government departments.
The government on record has said that the defaulters owe the PDD Rs 1892 crore up to October 2017. “Various government departments and security forces in Jammu region owe Rs 1080.83 cr and Rs 31.24 cr respectively. In Kashmir, the outstanding against various government departments and armed forces is Rs 802 cr, where as in Ladakh, the outstanding amount is Rs 9.68 cr,” the government has said.
The government recently has also on record said that an amount of Rs 36.16 cr was outstanding against the army, Rs 3.16 cr against BSF and Rs 15.78 cr against CRPF in Kashmir region while as in Ladakh, the army owes Rs 3.57 cr and PHE Rs 2.86 cr.
Sources told KNS that the defaulters include Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Public Health Engineering Department, Home Department. Health, Education, industries, CRPF, BSF.
“Whenever the state is bogged down by extremities of power crisis, the successive governments have blamed the people for non-judicious use of electricity and for non-payment of dues. The power crisis stems from multiple reasons including lopsided power sharing agreements and transmission and distribution losses. But one of the main causes remains the mismanaged affairs of the PDD,” said one of the social activist wished not to be named.
He said that the power woes of Jammu and Kashmir continue follow the routine old story of disappearance during peak seasons. “Ironically as the seat of political power shifts with the bi-annual durbar move from one capital to another, the two regions of the state alternately become deprived of electric power in the seasons it is most needed. While Jammu reels under the hot scorching summers without sufficient power, the Valley is turned into a dark one in the freezing winters. Successive governments have vowed to rectify the problem and improve the power situation and often blamed the poor power supply on the defaulting consumers.” the social activist added.
Sources told TheDispatch that the PDD has been warning common people to liquidate balance electricity charges or their installations would be disconnected. “The common people pay as per the agreement but the government is soft towards the industrialists and politicians who are major defaulters of electricity in the state,” the official sources of PDD said.
It is to mention here that for 2013-14, the PDD had set a target of Rs 3344 crore power tariff, it realized only Rs 1700 crore. During 2014-15, the department had fixed a target of Rs 3500 crore but achieved only Rs 1773 crore. The government had set Rs 3700 crore as power tariff during 2015-2016 but received only Rs 1900 crore from the consumers. In 2016-2017 the department realised around Rs 1400 crore from the consumers against the target of Rs 3800 crore.
“The shortfall in revenue realization has led to power liabilities to hundreds of crores in the state. The government departments, politicians and bureaucrats are among the power defaulters in the state,” an official of the PDD said.
The State Advisory Committee on power had said that widening gap in purchasing and revenue generation of power may lead to deterioration in the services of the PDD department.
The government announced the general amnesty for domestic electricity consumers’ up to March 2017 to clear their pending electricity bills. “The cabinet has announced the amnesty for electricity consumers who could not pay their bills in the past,” an official of the PDD said.
“We have asked consumers many a times to clear their pending. It is because of non-pending of bills, the department is not able to achieve the target of power tariff,” the official said.
Deputy Chief Minister, Nirmal Singh, who also holds the portfolio of the power department didn’t respond to phone calls.