Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah disclosed on Thursday that the Centre had lately allotted 130-million-tonne coal block to Jammu and Kashmir to make the State self-reliant in power production.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating a micro power project constructed by two local entrepreneurs, Mr. Abdullah said that on his persuasion, the Government of India had for the first time allotted a coal block which would enable J&K to generate 1,000 megawatts of power for a period of 25 to 30 years. He said that optimum utilisation of water resources for power generation would ensure a bright future for the economically devastated State. Self-reliance in power generation, according to him, would be a significant achievement in the State’s financial autonomy.

“My target is to make Jammu and Kashmir a power-surplus State and strengthen its economy to such a level where it would not feel itself constrained to approach New Delhi with a begging bowl for each developmental work,” Mr. Abdullah said. He revealed that power projects of the generation capacity of 9,000-mw were currently coming up in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I may not be in a position to sell this achievement during the 2014 elections as the work on many of these projects may take some time but I am satisfied that my government has made a remarkable dent in the power generation sector to bring welfare and financial autonomy to the State,” Mr. Abdullah said. He asserted that the economic autonomy was as important as the political economy.

Indus Water Treaty deficit

Mr. Abdullah said that Jammu and Kashmir had suffered a considerable cumulative loss due to the Indus Water Treaty as India and Pakistan had distributed six rivers passing through the State without the knowledge and sanction of its population. “Nobody in J&K was taken on board when the State’s three rivers were given to Pakistan,” Mr. Abdullah complained.

Heading a coalition government, Mr. Abdullah said that since the day of his assuming office, he had focused on the indigenous hydroelectric power generation as the State had a potential of 20,000-mw. A new policy for the power generation by the private sector was introduced in 2011 and a new government-controlled company launched to boost the power generation.

“Tourism can improve our economy and generate job-oriented activities but it cannot neutralise the huge financial deficit of a State which has total income of Rs. 7,000 crore and spends Rs. 13,500 crore on the salaries of the government employees,” Mr. Abdullah said. He asserted that only power projects like Rattle and Baghlihar could get J&K out of its profile of a deficit State.