Shuja'at Bukhari

Severe power crisis due to damage in main transmission line

SRINAGAR: With most of the road links between Srinagar and other district headquarters restored in Jammu and Kashmir, life after the heavy snowfall on Sunday last is returning to normal. However, power supply could not be restored due to damage in the main transmission line from the northern grid.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's directive that efforts on a war footing be mounted to restore power supply to the Valley could not be implemented as men and machinery had been diverted to restoring the vital Kishanpur-Pampore transmission line. The main transmission line developed a snag on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway near Ramsu. Officials said it was difficult to reach the area in the shortest possible time. "Even as we were able to restore the line on Wednesday evening, it again developed some problems and a team had to be rushed," a top official said.

Following Mr. Azad's "displeasure" over the delay, a high-level team of Power Development Department officials, led by Commissioner Moulvi Khurshid Ahmed, rushed to the spot to supervise the work. Till Friday evening, the team was able to restore only one circuit, giving an additional supply of 300 MWs. While the total requirement is 1,000 MWs, after the breakdown in the link the State was left to manage with 220 MWs, which was diverted for essential and VIP supply.

An official said another circuit was likely to be restored by Saturday evening.

Srinagar and the rest of the Valley have been reeling under a severe power crisis for the last five days. The situation has led to scarcity of drinking water. Medical services have been affected.

Mr. Azad on Thursday deputed three senior Ministers, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, Hakim Mohammad Yasin and Nawang Rigzin Jora to Srinagar to monitor the government efforts.

Tariq Hamid Qarra, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, was in Srinagar on Tuesday. He also toured Anantnag, Baramulla and Budgam districts to review the situation. He told The Hindu that the power supply would be completely restored in three to four days. "We had success in restoring certain circuits," he said. It was difficult to tackle the situation in view of heavy snow along the highway where the fault was reported.

Mr. Qarra said most of the roads in Srinagar and other major towns had been cleared. Work on link roads in rural areas was on.