Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Manoj Sinha held a meeting with India’s Union Power & NRE Minister R K Singh, in New Delhi to address the escalating power demand in the Union Territory.

This surge is attributed to economic growth and expanding electrification, particularly during the ongoing winter season.

During the meeting, the LG highlighted that the current power demand in J&K stands at approximately 2,800MW, with a shortfall of around 1,400 MW in the current winter season.

In response to this concern, Sinha appealed to the Union Power Minister to increase the power allocation to the Union Territory.

The Union Power Minister informed the LG that the Ministry of Power has already designated 1,500MW from the Central pool to meet the winter energy requirements of J&K.

Additionally, an allocation of 472MW is slated under the Shakti policy, and a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Power department of J&K is anticipated to be finalised by the end of December 2023. In total, the Central government has made an extra allocation of 1,972MW to address the pressing power needs of the Union Territory.

The Minister directed officials from the Ministry of Power to ensure a sufficient allocation of power to J&K to meet the surging demand, emphasising the importance of addressing this issue promptly.

Minister Singh conducted a comprehensive review of the Ministry of Power’s initiatives underway in the Union Territory (UT) as part of Central Sector Schemes. The Power Minister issued directives to the relevant authorities to expedite the progress of ongoing projects related to transmission lines, smart meters, and other distribution infrastructure works. He emphasised that all pending projects should be awarded by the conclusion of December 2023 and stressed the importance of adhering to the predetermined schedules for the completion of ongoing projects.

The Ministry of Power has allocated INR106.91bn ($1.28bn) under various programs such as PMDP, PMRP, and RDSS to fortify the power systems in the UT of J&K. Notably, more than 425,000 smart pre-paid meters have already been installed as part of PMDP and RDSS schemes. This implementation has led to a significant enhancement in billing and collection efficiency in these areas. The report highlighted a target of achieving 100% smart pre-paid metering by the fiscal year 2025-26, indicating a commitment to modernizing and optimising the power infrastructure in the Union Territory.

The Power Minister commended the Union Territory (UT) for its effective implementation of various programs by the Ministry of Power, Government of India, leading to a substantial reduction in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses in the UT since 2019. Shri Singh informed the Lieutenant Governor (LG) that the power generation capacity in J&K is set to double in the next 3-4 years.

Furthermore, Shri Singh highlighted the progress of four Mega Hydro Electric Projects with a total capacity of 3,014 MW, namely PakalDul (1,000MW), Kiru (624 MW), Kwar (540 MW), and Ratle (830 MW). These projects, which faced delays and obstacles in previous years, have now been expedited and are on course for completion before 2026. Additionally, Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between the Government of India and the Government of J&K have been signed for the development of four more Mega Hydel Projects, totalling 3,284 MW and valued at INR296bn.

In response to the LG’s request, the Power Minister encouraged the submission of proposals for additional funds under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RDSS) to enhance and modernise the distribution infrastructure in the UT. This includes the replacement of outdated conductors, transformers, and poles. Minister Singh assured the LG that the Ministry would positively consider proposals aimed at the development of J&K.