Lights Out, Bills Up: Power Crisis Grips Srinagar as Residents Reel from Tariff Hike

Lights Out, Bills Up: Power Crisis Grips Srinagar as Residents Reel from Tariff Hike

Spark of Anger: Tarigami Slams Admin as Srinagar Boils Over 33% Electricity Bill Hike

Srinagar: Strong resentment is brewing among consumers for the hike in electricity bills in various areas of the summer capital. Consumers in Hazratbal and adjoining areas said that this is the second hike in four months.

Residents of these areas said that with no improvement in power supply, inflated power bills are pestering them. “Earlier we used to get bill of around Rs 1200 per month and subsequently Rs 1500. Today, we were shocked to receive inflated bills amounting to Rs 2080. We don’t understand where we are supposed to go and who will listen to us. We come from a poor background, and these inflated bills are making our lives hard,” said Adil Ahmad, a resident of Hazratbal.

The locals said that on Tuesday they had no electricity throughout the day in Hazratbal outskirts. “Inflated bills are like salt on our wounds. This is sheer injustice with us that we receive inflated bills after every two months,” said another consumer.

As the consumers in Hazratbal are facing a 33% hike in four months, the locals from areas like New Theed Harwan said that their power bills are skyrocketing. They said that with four back-to-back hikes in the last six months, they feel paying new bills is beyond their capacity.

“There has been a major power bill hike every 1.5 months. Our bills have reached Rs 2730 from Rs 1150 in the last six months, which is more than double. What scale is the power department using to hike bills? We are distressed because, amid poverty and inflation, the inflated bills are burning a hole in our pockets. Everyone cannot foot these bills. Despite power bills rising every month, there is no proper power supply,” said Mudasir Ahmad, a local from New Theed area.

The locals said that the situation in Downtown and adjoining areas is equally terrible in the context of hiked power tariffs. “We are frequently hitting roads to protest against this issue but now one is paying heed to us. Since last year, bills have been hiked multiple times as the power supply remains very poor,” said Irfan Ahmad, a local from Downtown.

Executive Engineer KPDCL Lenin Kumar Kundu said that the bills are hiked according to consumption. He said that they look at the units consumed in the area and related consumption and then hike the bills.

“Once these areas are metered, then consumers will be getting bills accordingly. Consumers in flat rate areas are consuming electricity and using all the gadgets and we are hiking as per the consumption only,” Kundu said.

Meanwhile, Expressing concern over the power crisis in J&K, CPI (M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday said the ongoing power crisis is a failure of the administration and “mismanagement by those at the helm”.

In a statement, he said, “The recent declaration by the Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited of additional power curtailments is unacceptable and a blatant disregard for the well-being of the people of J&K. The people of Kashmir are shrouded in darkness, both literally and metaphorically. The claim of surplus power is a cruel joke when our citizens are subjected to unscheduled cuts and outages, now exacerbated by further curtailments. While other states enjoy the benefits of 10% free power, J&K is unjustly deprived, despite our natural resources being exploited. We demand at least 40% free power as compensation for the use of our land and water resources,” he said.

Tarigami said it is an economic burden and a social injustice that J&K must annually purchase power worth Rs 3,000-4,000 crore, only to impose this cost on the citizens through unjust power curtailments. “This is a policy failure and deliberate subjugation of our rights. We demand immediate rectification of these injustices and the implementation of equitable power-sharing norms. The citizens of J&K deserve transparency, fairness and respect,” he said.

He claimed that the consumers have expressed concerns and are troubled by the inflated bills generated by smart meters. “The focus should be on ensuring sufficient electricity rather than installing meters,” he said.

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