By: Salman Nizami
JAMMU AND Kashmir may witness long power cuts from May-end onwards as the state is on the verge of a power crisis due to a widening gap between the demand and supply of electricity.
Sources in the power development department (PDD) revealed that a few days back the officials of the department in a plea before the chief secretary contended to provide uninterrupted power supply to consumers and proposed a daily power curtailment of 10 hours in the cities and district headquarters across the state.Even in the month of April, the department had sought the imposition of power cuts but due to the ongoing Lok Sabha (LS) Elections, no power cuts were imposed to keep the voters in good humour.The state has a requirement of about 1800 mw of power per day but it is unable to meet its requirement despite the fact that it is overdrawing as much as 250 mw of power almost on a daily basis. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that even several important and strategic installations have been deprived of power in view of frequent power curtailments.
"Crisis was brewing up in Jammu province particularly where several important areas including the 12 and 23 Rashtriya Rifles in Banihal have not been spared, "informed sources well connected sources and added that a few days back, senior army officials had approached the department as repeated power cuts were posing serious problems to the security forces. Officials expressed grave concern over the problem as it had started affecting their functioning.
"Several equipments were dependent on power and there were other sensitive areas, which needed to be taken care of as this is the operational command," sources informed and added that due to lack of power availability in the province, administration had advised the army officials to purchase their own generators.
Katra town - the abode of Vaishno Devi Shrine - had also been suffering from acute power shortage despite the monthly inflow of over three lakh devotees from across the country.
Since the State is overdrawing power from the northern grid on regular basis and is one of the major defaulters, it has to face shut downs. The industrial sector was also facing a piquant situation with increasing power cuts. While there was scheduled power cut of nearly 8.5 hours on daily basis, the authorities at the helm of affairs were being forced to impose additional unscheduled cut of three or more hours.The public health engineering (PHE) department alone contributed to load of 100 mw and the current crisis was also posing a threat to this area.
Commissioner secretary Sandeep Naik confessed that the state was facing power shortage despite the fact that it was being allowed to overdraw from the power grid."Interestingly, states like J&K and Himachal Pradesh, which have major hydro power potential and provide surplus power to northern grid during summers, emerge as major defaulters during the winter seasons," he said and added, "Often other states have to bear the burden of our excessive withdrawal."“The main reason for the present power shortage was the low power generation due to considerable decrease in water discharge in all the rivers of northern region on account of dry winter”, Naik said and added that Salal Project, having a potential of 680 mw, was providing nearly 40 mw, while Uri (480 mw) Baglihar hydo-electric power project is providing 450 mw and Dullhasti Power Project providing 400 mw.
However, things were comparatively better in Uri as it was not possible to store water in the dam. Same was the case with other hydropower projects in Himachal Pradesh, which are feeding to the grid. "There was no choice but to resort to overdrawing of power and load shedding was bound to happen when the power frequency touched as low as 49 at times," he said and added, "we should be thankful to New Delhi for allowing us to overdraw power and this was possible only after personal intervention of the chief minister and his telephonic interaction with Union power minister a few days back".
Coaching institutes mushroom in Jammu
By: Salman Nizami
IT MAY well be a silent industry of Rs. 100 crore annual turnover in the winter capital city of Jammu and Kashmir but Rs 12 to 15 crore is precisely what some two dozen odd coaching institutions are up to make in the early summer this year as around 8000 students are running between places to secure a seats in professional colleges.Once the 10+2 examinations are over, thousands of students from across the Jammu region rush into the winter capital city to get the capsule coaching for the upcoming entrance examinations for various professional examinations conducted annually by the Board of Professional Studies.
The entrance examination this year is due in the month of July and the coaching institutes in Jammu are already filled beyond their capacities. Pick up any leading newspaper in the morning and the last page is full with notices and advertisements of coaching centers promising students the easiest way to professional colleges.
There is a wide range of institutes and a much wider approach to coaching. Some coaching centers have a class of 80 to 120 students huddled together in a hall for a 45 minute lecture and some have more personalized coaching patterns involving 10 to 15 students.
Every year, around 14,000 to 16,000 students appear for the entrance examinations and roughly more than half of the total students belong to Jammu region. Since there are no proper coaching facilities or institutes in other districts, over 90 per cent of the students from across the region rush to Jammu for coaching.While 2000 to 3000 students are drawn from Jammu city itself, nearly 5000 students pour in from different parts of the Jammu region for coaching immediately after the higher secondary school examinations.While around two dozen coaching centers and over 50 prominent individual teachers make good of this season, the coaching months also bring economic spin-offs for locals as students coming from other parts of the region move into the city either as paying guests or take rooms on rent. Bakshi Nagar, Subhash Nagar and Rehari areas are the most favourite housing destinations for these students.
Not long ago, the students used to prepare at their own or take tuitions in small groups but, of late, the mushrooming of coaching centers has become a perilous fashion for both students and their parents as parents classify these institutions of coaching by their higher costs which is becoming trend.Though all the institutions pursue similar syllabuses of similar subjects, the costs at all institutions are different, that too in the ascending order. This certainly is a cause of concern for parents and authorities.However, a number of coaching centres to provide coaching for entrance examinations to various professional courses have already started working here on a large scale.The parents have been complaining that these are only “business establishments, earning money in the name of imparting coaching”, while the instructors at the centers do not devote themselves to teaching in the government educational institutions.
Similarly private schools have cropped up here even as the government schools continue to suffer on account of lack of attention from the concerned authorities.
Among the leading coaching institutes in Jammu include ASL, SR College, SN Dasgupta College, National College, Sachdeva New PT College, Career Point Kota, Mastermind Classes, Apex, Apexel, JKIETER etc.While ASL has on its rolls over 500 students and its fee is Rs. 15000 for the syllabus, the fee structure of SN Dasgupta and Sachdeva is almost of the same order but the number of students on their rolls is around 200 each.
Some institutes are charging as much as Rs. 25000 for the syllabus while some smaller coaching centers with a committed limited number of intake charge even upto Rs. 50000 for three to four months of coaching.