Opposition stages walkout, says Govt failed to utilise Central aid

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Jammu, Jan 8 (UNI) Unsatisfied over the reply of Power Minister on electricity shortage, the Opposition MLAs today staged walkout in Legislative Assembly and criticised the department for its failure in properly utilising the funds provided by the Centre. The legislators of National Conference (NC), Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) pulled the new Power Minister Babu Singh in the Question Hour for electricity crisis in entire Jammu and Kashmir.

Leading the Opposition front, NC MLA Abdul Rahim Rather said ''As against Rs 805 crore provided to the Power Department in three years, it could spend only Rs 200 crore, which indicates non-performance by the government.'' Finding the Power Minister in puzzle, Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig came forward to face the volley of the Opposition.

Mr Beig informed the House that Government of India had asked the state government to invite a national company on contract for the construction of grid stations but due to the security situations here, no company agreed to accept the proposal.

Meanwhile, senior JKNPP leader and former Education Minister, Mr Harsh Dev Singh alleged that the funds were misappropriated in the Power Development Department (PDD).

''The government promised electricity in every village of the state under Common Minimum Programme (CMP) but it has failed on all the fronts. There is a misappropriation of funds in the PDD and I demand an inquiry into it,'' Mr Singh said.

However, in his written reply, Power Minister Babu Singh informed the Lower House that total hydel power potential of the state was estimated at 20,000 MWs.

''Of which, 16,400 MWs have been identified on the Jhelum, Chenab, Indus and Ravi basins (Jhelum 3,560 MW, Chenab 10,360 MW, Indus 2,060 MW and Ravi 500 MW),'' he added.

The state, Mr Singh said, has so far installed capacity of 1,869 MWs, out of which 309 MWs is under state sector and 1,560 MWs under Central sector.

''The gap between installed capacity and actual generation is mostly because of high fluctuations in the discharge of the sources,'' the Minister said.

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