By 2024, there is a plan to double the power generation in the UT from 3504 MW to 7,001 MW

Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a significant jump on its developmental fronts. Today, the Union Territory is overseeing the implementation of dozens of projects of worth billions of US dollar in road, power, health, education, tourism, agriculture, rehabilitation (for Kashmiri migrants) and skill development.

Yet Germany’s state-owned international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW) seems to be not happy with the power situation in the UT. In an article published on December 28, the news outlet said Kashmir has the potential to produce 20,000 megawatts (MW) of hydropower, which can become a major driving force for its economic growth, but it currently produces a mere 3,263 MW.

Surely the real picture on the power situation in Jammu and Kashmir is different from what it has been presented by the German news outlet. The UT currently generates 3504 MW power. By 2024, there is a plan to double the power generation in the UT from 3504 MW to 7,001 MW.

Already, projects like the 330-MW Kishanganga Power Project and the 450 MW Baglihar Hydroelectric Power are in operations, while works on power projects like the 1,000-MW Pakal Dul Power Project in Kishtwar district are going on with fast speed. On January 3, 2021, the NHPC and the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation signed MoUs for implementation of 850 MW Rtale Hydroelectric Power and 930 MW Kirthai –II Hydroelectric Power.

Besides, the two sides also signed MoU for the execution of 1856 MW Sawalkot Hydroelectric Power, 240 MW URI-I (Stage-II) and 258 MW Dulhasti (Stage-II) Hydroelectric Power Projects.

Read the complete article in The Hindustan Times:

Again the news outlet quoted a local Kashmiri in its story who said, “We don't even get six hours of electricity. In this harsh winter and subzero temperatures, we don't even get six hours of electricity. We depend on timber to heat water for bathing and washing our clothes.”

However, reality is something else. In 2021, the power department enhanced electricity supply in Kashmir by over 17 per cent in comparison to last year. As per a report, accessed by a local daily, Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL) supplied 357.79 lakh units of power which is 17.5 percent higher than the energy supplied last year. This is considered to be the highest ever peak load served in Kashmir so far. As per the figures, 1694 MW of power is supplied which is the highest ever peak load served, also 15 percent higher than last year 1450 in 2020.

Greater Kashmir has covered it in detail:

The German news outlet maintained that in the absence of an elected government in Kashmir after the abrogation of the region's special constitutional status on August 5, 2019, New Delhi has signed agreements — so-called MoUs — to hand over another five power projects to the NHPC, triggering unease among locals.

For the sake of making the story spicy, there has been trend among some journalists to twist the fact. This has been found in DW’s story too. It failed to see that the signing of the MoUs was hailed as a historic as it would facilitate in bringing Jammu and Kashmir on the map of energy sufficient region.

The MoUs signed included 850 MW Ratle HEP and 930 MW Kirthai-II HEP, besides execution of long pending Sawalkot HEP (1856 MW), Uri-I (Stage-II) (240 MW) and Dulhasti (Stage-II) (258 MW).

According to the government, these MoUs would attract investments worth Rs 35,000 crore for Jammu & Kashmir power sector and ensure the region's energy security and 24-hour power supply to the people of J&K. The step was welcomed by many sections of the society since it had the potential to generate employment avenues for the locals by providing them training hence eradicating unemployment.

The Hindu has covered this aspect in detail:

The news outlet again said that in the past, Pakistan has raised strong objections to multiple hydropower projects, such as Baglihar and Kishanganga in Kashmir, over their designs. These projects were allowed to go ahead only after correction in their design, albeit after a delay of many years.

But then reality is something else: The Annual Meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) composed of Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan was held on March 23-24, 2021 in New Delhi. Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan in 1960. Discussions were held on designs of two Indian projects, namely, Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW). The Indian side held that these projects are fully compliant with the provisions of the Treaty and provided technical data in support of its position.

The Pakistan side requested India for sharing of information on design of other Indian hydropower projects being planned to be developed. The Indian side assured that the information will be supplied as and when required to be supplied under the provisions of the Treaty. The meeting was held in a cordial manner. Both the Commissioners reaffirmed their commitment to interact more frequently in an attempt to resolve the issues by bilateral discussions under the Treaty.

For more on this report, read The Times of India: