J&K Lt Governor warns striking power department employees

Srinagar, Dec 20 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha gave a stern warning to striking power department employees saying that the system cannot be run as per the whims of some people.

After the striking electric department employees refused to join duty unless their demand to stop privatisation of the power sector is met, the administration called in the army to man power stations and supplies.

For the last three days an unprecedented power crisis has hit J&K with the majority of both urban and rural areas remaining without electricity supply.

Lt Governor Sinha was reacting to this unprecedented situation when he said, “I want to tell 1.25 crore citizens of Jammu and Kashmir that I understand your pain caused by the disruption in electricity supply due to strike by the power department employees. The well-being of each and every citizen is our top priority.”

“Many generations of J&K have spent their life dreaming about getting an uninterrupted 24 hours supply of electricity and we have taken the bold initiative of reforms in the power sector to realize that dream.

“Unfortunately, the people who were at the helm of affairs for many decades did nothing. They didn’t want the system to get better to bring qualitative change in people’s lives.

“Talks have been held with those who were on strike and as on date no dues/salary are pending on part of the government.

“I do not want to name them, but some people have criticized that the army has been called to restore electricity. Personnel from REC, NTPC, NHPC, and officers from the army engineering corps have also come. This only shows our commitment that we restored 60% electricity yesterday and by tomorrow we will achieve 100% restoration.

“There can be no compromise on the issue of ensuring access to the basic amenities to our people.

“Tremendous work has been done across the power sector in the whole country; rural areas are now getting electricity for 20-22 hours. Unfortunately, J&K is still deprived of that. We have made efforts in that direction. Most of you know our cumulative generation capacity is around 3500 MW even though the UT has the potential to generate 20000 MW. In the last 6-8 months, the MoUs we have signed with NHPC, under the guidance of Prime Minister, will pave the way for generating 3500 MW additional power in the next 4-5 years, assuredly.

“There is no dearth of electricity in the country but the UT’s transmission and distribution systems have a limited capacity of carrying electricity from outside. We have worked in that direction and have been able to achieve 40% of that specific capacity building plan.

“And I want to assure that the Prime Minister has always extended his support to us and in the last 14 months, we have completed 236 projects to improve transmission and distribution infrastructure and the rest will also be completed, well within timelines. It pains me that despite massive progress in other parts of the country, people of J&K were deprived of minimum requirements to live a civilized life.

“If some people think that the system will work as per their whims and fancies, it cannot be allowed. The system will work for 1.25 crore citizens without any discrimination. Every step of the UT administration is meant for the betterment of 1.25 crore citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.”

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