Reaffirming his mission to achieve energy sufficient Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Wednesday said that his vision to bring economic autonomy to the State is linked with the harnessing of maximum of the 20,000 MW hydro power potential available in the State.
“My government has laid the edifice in this regard and is firmly working on a roadmap to realize generation of 9000 MWs of power within next 7 to 8 years”, he said and maintained that while the total power generation in the State stood at 750 MWs per annum indigenously since the time of independence, his government has launched hydro electro projects of the capacity of 1750 MWs during the last about five years.
Addressing a large public gathering after laying foundation of Rs. 640.40 crore 37.50 MW Parnai Hydro Electric Project, the Chief Minister said that the important turnaround in the financial resources of Jammu and Kashmir is only possible when the State generates surplus power to export it to other States and earn substantial revenue for the development of the State.
“The day is not far off, if we continue to focus on generation of hydro power in the State when the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir instead of demanding financial assistance from the Centre Government for development purpose would offer financial help to the Centre for the upliftment of people and launch of schemes elsewhere in the Country”, he said and added that this is only possible when the State starts producing hydro energy more than required for its domestic use and industrial purposes.
Omar Abdullah said that Allah has bestowed his blessings on Jammu and Kashmir in the shape of natural beauty and abundance of water resources. “Both these could be utilized to give fillip to the economic conditions of the State. While tourism is dependent on normality, generation of power, though of longer gestation, is permanent avenue to revolutionize the financial status of the State as also catapult the job creation scenario and economic activities”, he said adding that coalition government has focused both these sectors as important concerns in its development policy.
Criticizing the opponents of his government for launching false propaganda and misleading people on various grounds which do not even exist at all, the Chief Minister said that they do not want to see the success of the schemes and projects implemented by his government throughout the State during the last five years. “They want to divert the attention of people from progress and development by sowing the seeds of confusion and doubt in their minds”, he said and asked the people beware of this kind of politics nurtured by a particular political group to fool the people and attempt at grabbing the power for vested interests.
Omar Abdullah said that while the Parnai Project will generate 37.5 MWs of power after its completion within next four years, it will also eradicate the chances of flood in Surankote area besides helping irrigating the agriculture land and generating employment for the locals. “I have told the Minister of State for Power to work with local administration for identifying 250 to 300 youth of the area who would be provided free training including free boarding and lodging in the training institutions outside the State so that after completing the required training these get absorbed in the upcoming Parnai HEP”, he said.
“I have also given categorical direction to the power companies in constructing various power houses in the State to necessarily engage the locally available skilled and non-skilled youth in these projects and also identify the trades where the State Government could help to upgrade the skills of locals so that these are easily absorbed in these projects”, he said and added that any deviation in this regard would be viewed very seriously by the government.
Referring to the benefits of Mughal Road, envisioned by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and realized by the coalition government, the Chief Minister said that its upgradation and construction of tunnel to make it all whether round the year highway of National Highway status is the next target of his government. “We have taken up the issue with the Centre Government”, he said and wished that return of UPA Government to the power in the coming Parliament Election so that the dream of making Mughal Road a second National Highway connecting Jammu and Srinagar, is realized.
The Chief Minister also mentioned the efforts his government is making to help conversion of present system of Barter Trade across LOC into the normal trade through the transaction of money. He also said that his government has also taken up the issue of allowing telephone communication between the traders of the two sides as also allowing the trade for all feasible items. “Instead of identifying the goods for trade across LOC, the items not allowed for trade should be listed and rest left free for traders without any bar”, he said and added that these initiatives will flourish the trade and strengthen this important Confidence Building Measure (CBM).