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February 28, 2020 00:00:00 |

Hydro empowering

 Energy sector and harnessing energy often expands national borders and influences all aspects of socio-economic indices. Prosperity in Middle East economies like Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, and Kuwait is best explained in terms of harnessing energy following the presence of vast reserves of hydrocarbons or oil. The Union Territory of J&K is equally blessed with prodigious resource in the form of water. Kashmiris are sitting on a gold mine (hydrocarbons minus the undesired carbons), a resource which nowadays is even more valuable since credits can be sold under Certified Emission Reduction to the Western economies who cannot afford to cut down on their emission levels. However, harnessing hydro energy in the state as a matter of fact has been brushed off and underutilized, mainly due to myopic vision and nonchalance of state actors. Hydro power projects being investment oriented require huge capital, which puts the UT and the Centre at negotiations table, except for low capacity projects which as per new policies have been thrown open to Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The heads of Jammu and Kashmir on many occasions have reiterated that generation of power is key to the economic growth of Jammu and Kashmir. This foresight is substantiated with the keen interest shown by both the UT and the Government of India with speedy commencement of new hyrdo energy power projects in the Valley. The investments and funding by the Centre sponsored schemes, hydel policies, disproportionate quota awarded to NHPC (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation), green signal from environmental bodies and even the superannuated Indus Water Treaty puts the Jammu and Kashmir at the receiving end rather than one holding all the cards. People of J&K are the real owners of water resources and its fortunes, for which both India and Pakistan fight in international courts. The irony is that Kashmiris despite sitting on this gold mine are left to find their way in the dark, completely ignored with more domestic problems like undesired hikes in power tariffs, poor distribution system and even annual power deficits. Except in urban districts, people still have to find a bulb with a candle. So far as accountability is concerned the insights are poor for people of Kashmir still don’t have any ideas as how much worth power is being produced, how much worth is being sold, who controls that power and who grapples most of the benefits. In the last few years the Jammu and Kashmir government has given a fillip to new projects and has been eager to cut deals with the Centre. However, there is a huge awareness gap regarding the circumstances in which the projects were hurriedly pushed forward. No doubt it gives a chance to the state government to brag about economic growth by making the state power exporting hub, but a commoner is receiving peanuts whereas it is his resource. By taking all his wealth and awarding a small share of it to keep Kashmiri quiet is a bad policy.  

February 28, 2020 00:00:00 |

Hydro empowering

              

 Energy sector and harnessing energy often expands national borders and influences all aspects of socio-economic indices. Prosperity in Middle East economies like Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, and Kuwait is best explained in terms of harnessing energy following the presence of vast reserves of hydrocarbons or oil. The Union Territory of J&K is equally blessed with prodigious resource in the form of water. Kashmiris are sitting on a gold mine (hydrocarbons minus the undesired carbons), a resource which nowadays is even more valuable since credits can be sold under Certified Emission Reduction to the Western economies who cannot afford to cut down on their emission levels. However, harnessing hydro energy in the state as a matter of fact has been brushed off and underutilized, mainly due to myopic vision and nonchalance of state actors. Hydro power projects being investment oriented require huge capital, which puts the UT and the Centre at negotiations table, except for low capacity projects which as per new policies have been thrown open to Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The heads of Jammu and Kashmir on many occasions have reiterated that generation of power is key to the economic growth of Jammu and Kashmir. This foresight is substantiated with the keen interest shown by both the UT and the Government of India with speedy commencement of new hyrdo energy power projects in the Valley. The investments and funding by the Centre sponsored schemes, hydel policies, disproportionate quota awarded to NHPC (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation), green signal from environmental bodies and even the superannuated Indus Water Treaty puts the Jammu and Kashmir at the receiving end rather than one holding all the cards. People of J&K are the real owners of water resources and its fortunes, for which both India and Pakistan fight in international courts. The irony is that Kashmiris despite sitting on this gold mine are left to find their way in the dark, completely ignored with more domestic problems like undesired hikes in power tariffs, poor distribution system and even annual power deficits. Except in urban districts, people still have to find a bulb with a candle. So far as accountability is concerned the insights are poor for people of Kashmir still don’t have any ideas as how much worth power is being produced, how much worth is being sold, who controls that power and who grapples most of the benefits. In the last few years the Jammu and Kashmir government has given a fillip to new projects and has been eager to cut deals with the Centre. However, there is a huge awareness gap regarding the circumstances in which the projects were hurriedly pushed forward. No doubt it gives a chance to the state government to brag about economic growth by making the state power exporting hub, but a commoner is receiving peanuts whereas it is his resource. By taking all his wealth and awarding a small share of it to keep Kashmiri quiet is a bad policy.  

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