The domestic consumers in Kashmir are paying more power tariff in comparison to the collections made by the Power Development Department from consumers in other regions of the state including Jammu, official data has revealed.
From April to ending November this year, the PDD has realized Rs 195.03 crore revenue on account of power tariff from its domestic consumers in the Valley, compared to Rs 133.12 crore collection in the same category in Jammu.
In total, the tariff collection in domestic category has been Rs 61 crore more in Kashmir during the period in comparison to Jammu, as per the data accessed by us.
The total number of domestic consumers registered with the PDD in Kashmir is 7.15 lakh while it is 6.70 lakh in Jammu.
While the average revenue collected from per-domestic consumer in Jammu during the eight months (from April to November) has been Rs 1987, the tariff collections from each domestic consumer in Kashmir has been Rs 2724—Rs 737 more in comparison to Jammu.
The collections have been better in Kashmir in case of the average revenue realized per-consumer-per-month. In Jammu, the average revenue realized per-consumer-per-month from April this year has been Rs 248 while average revenue realization per-consumer-per month has been Rs 341 in the Valley. The increase in average tariff collections in the Valley has been Rs 93 per-consumer per-month in comparison to Jammu.
The data has come to the fore at a time when the J&K Government—amid frequent and long unscheduled power cuts in freezing Valley—has decided to lodge FIRs against consumers involved in power theft in Kashmir, under the J&K State Electricity Regulatory Act (JKSERA) of 2010. Under it, an offender can face imprisonment of up to five years.
The decision to go “selectively” after consumers involved in power theft in the Valley was cleared by a high-level meeting chaired by J&K’s Chief Vigilance Commissioner Kuldeep Khoda here. The PDD was asked to start registering FIRs in all cases of electricity theft or illegal power connections.
The PDD has already set up inspection squads for metered as well as non-metered areas which are being aided by police to book consumers involved in power theft.
“The inspection squads, joined by police, raided many areas here on Saturday and today as well. The raids will continue,” said the official.
He said the PDD has intensified the drive after the Commissioner/Secretary PDD, Dheeraj Gupta, chaired a meeting here on December 4 and reportedly issued directions for registration of FIRs.
A Kashmir Civil Society formation—Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies—condemned the “selective harassment of Kashmiris” by the Government and the Power Development Department headed by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.
“Despite realizing higher power tariff collections from Kashmir, the Power Department is resorting to harassment and long unscheduled power curtailment in Kashmir only,” said KCSDS member, Shakeel Qalander.
He said the order for acting against consumers involved in power theft has been issued for “Kashmir only”.
“Why step-motherly treatment to Kashmir? Let the government implement the order across the board, against forces resorting to hooking and against bureaucrats and ministers, and then act against ordinary consumers,” said Qalander.
He said after the PDP-led coalition government assumed office in March this year, “every rule of law is being implemented in Kashmir only.”
“The domestic consumers in Kashmir have been paying higher power tariff despite huge economic losses they suffered during last year’s flood.”
The official data also revealed that the PDD has been recording more damage to transformers in Jammu region in comparison to Kashmir this year.
From April to ending November, the PDD has recorded damage to 4044 transformers in Jammu owing to overloading and other faults. In Kashmir however, against the department’s claims of more damage being registered in the Valley, lesser number of transformers—3142—got damaged during the period. It also signifies an improvement in the rate of damage to transformer in Kashmir compared to last year.
In Kashmir, 3614 transformers got damaged from April to ending November in 2014 while in Jammu the number of damaged transformers was 3961.
An official said while the increase in percentage of damaged transformers was 9.06 from April to November in Kashmir, this year, the percentage of damaged transformers was much higher, 29, in Jammu.
To a question regarding the issuance of the order for acting against consumers involved in power theft, Commissioner Secretary Power, Dheeraj Gupta said: “No separate order has been issued”.
“The officials of the department have been asked to discipline themselves and ensure they do whatever they are supposed to do. I can’t ask one Chief Engineer to do this and another Chief Engineer to do something else. There is a framework of law and everybody from top to down has to act under that,” he said.