Despite all the promises made to the people ahead of Parliamentary and Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir to provide uninterrupted power supply it remains a chimera till today. Since the early 2000s and after years of intense militancy, electricity needs have been a mainstay of political parties pitching for development as a means to rise to power. During Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s first tenure as Chief Minister of the PDP-led government, one of his biggest success was a small improvement in the power crisis. Today also power cuts have become a regular feature adding to the hardship is the rain and wind resulting in longer power cuts as part of the daily routine. In the villages not too far from the city, the bulbs wouldn’t shine for days. With the State’s energy needs expected to double over the next five years, the power crisis could potentially worsen. Energy demand in J and K has increased gradually. The worst culprit in this load shedding is the massive transmission losses necessitating to reboot the infrastructure. However, merely upgrading the transmission infrastructure will not be enough. With development suffering due to years of political strife, J and K’s energy needs are going to increase considerably in the coming years. Power situation overall has not improved and there are still three lakh households that haven’t been electrified in the State. Even after two years of the PDP-BJP coalition in power negotiations with the Centre to hand over control of the power plants to the State have completely failed. State which depends on hydro power generation has not been able to tap the potential to the maximum because of political lethargy leading to most of the hydro projects running over cost estimations. In this direction the impediments of sharing of waters under Indus Water Treaty has remained unsolved with Pakistan which has also added to hardships. The treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 to share water flowing through the State of Jammu and Kashmir restricts the use of water and only allows run-of-river projects on western flowing rivers.
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