Govt unable to sell Baglihar power due to lack of buyers: Altaf Bukhari

Education Minister, Syed Altaf Bukhari, Tuesday said the state government wasn’t able to sell power of 450 megawatt (Mw) Baglihar-II project due to non-availability of buyers.
Altaf said that the per unit generation cost of the hydropower was very high due to which the power of the project was sold at Rs 8.5 per unit which was higher by Rs 2.5 to solar power cost.
“Our Ganderbal project couldn’t start as a Mumbai based company informed that hydropower wasn’t a viable option given the cheap rate of the solar power,” Altaf said during his address to the students at a career counseling and guidance session.
He said that the state’s power department was facing a deficit of Rs 4700 crore each year due to power theft.
“Every time a person resorts to hooking for stealing power, a student of the state is deprived of electricity in his schools,” Altaf said. He said that had it not been for the deficit the education sector could have got a higher budget.
He said that if the power theft declines in Kashmir, the money thus saved could be spent on improve infrastructure of government schools. “If we get a share from the money which is otherwise spent on purchasing electricity then our schools will be better than the private sector.”
He appealed the students to “become teachers at home and stop parents from stealing power.”
Minister said that the non-availability of “requisite beds for patients in the hospitals” was also on account of power theft. “ Our three patients have one bed to share because we pay for purchasing electricity rather than to improve health sector.”
On the return of power projects from NHPC promised in the PDP-BJP government’s Agenda of Alliance, he said that the earlier state governments hadn’t included clauses about return of projects in the agreements for tapping hydel electricity. “It is a political decision now on which we are working.”
He said that the the state is resource-starved and the expenditure should be “devised meticulously on key sectors like education.”
Bukhari said that the Education Department would also provide electricity at 60000 schools through solar power as it was cheaper. “People should know that we are a power deficient state and hydro-electricity is now a technology of the past.”