Taking a strong exception to the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s claim that state government spends more on power purchase than the amount realized from consumers in Jammu and Kashmir, the CPI (M) State Secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has said the much hyped half-left contemplation on return of power projects from the NHPC, a complete inertia in terms of initiatives to start new power projects and controlling the huge Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses are responsible for the electricity crisis in the state.
As per a statement the CPI (M) leader has said that government was not doing any favour to the people of state by purchasing power on whatever market rates available to it. “Now if the government cries hoarse being not able to realize the revenue from the domestic and commercial consumers in the state; who is to be blamed for this administrative ineptitude,” Tarigami asked.
Referring to dismal revenue recovery and the Transmission, Distribution losses of over 68 per cent in Kashmir and over 49 per cent in Jammu last year, the CPI (M) leader has said the government seems in deep ‘slumber’ vis-à-vis addressing the shortage of manpower in the Power Development Department. “The PDD is facing acute shortage of manpower for manning the power infrastructure in the state. Around 6000 posts are lying vacant in the department in all categories. These include gazetted, non-gazetted and class 1V posts categories. Why the government has not filled these posts which are an essential component of revenue recovery section,” he stressed.
Recalling the government of its commitment made with the PDD daily wagers who had called off their 57-day long `pen down, tool down’ strike on February 8, 2010, Tarigami said what happened to the commitment of a delegation comprising then Minister for State for Power Shabir Ahmed Khan, Political Advisor to Chief Minister that the government would release their pending wages by February 28, 2010. “What happened to the Rs 6.5 crore that was assured to be released for the purpose? Similarly, what happened to the government assurance that demands of PDD daily wagers, including their regularization would be met by March 31, 2012,” Tarigami asked.
He has called for immediate regularization of all those daily wagers and casual laborers, who have completed seven years of service in PDD and other engineering departments as per the norms in vogue. “It is appalling that we have entered in 2013 but the government is far from fulfilling its commitment with these daily wagers. The administrative apathy towards their genuine issues is against the canons of justice and fair play.”
Regretting over the pending wages of casual labourers, Tarigami has observed that it seems the present government believes in making deceptive commitments to buy time and avoid the crisis. “Otherwise, the government had said it has earmarked Rs 6 crores to pay wages of these causal labourers who are waiting for their dues for the last many years. But till date nothing has happened in this regard. No dues have been paid to these causal labourers who have no other means to feed their families,” he opined.
Strongly criticizing the state government’s approval for fresh hike in power tariff, he said the unjustified decision should be rescinded immediately as the decision has added to the sufferings of people in the state. He said the fresh hike of around eight per cent in power tariff has hit lakhs of consumers in the state who have witnessed an unprecedented and an arbitrary hike in power tariff in past few years.
Referring to some media reports, Tarigami has termed it unfortunate saying that the consumers in metered as well as non metered areas have experienced sky touching hikes in power tariff since 2006-2007. He has expressed strong reservations over the reports that the hike has been put at just two per cent as far as the government departments are concerned even after these departments being the major defaulters on power dues.