Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has asked people to pay the market price for electricity they consume or bear with the load-shedding schedule announced by authorities.
"Power in J&K is the second cheapest in the country after Sikkim. How about all of you, complaining about load-shedding, start paying market price," Omar wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.com.
The chief minister, who also holds the power portfolio, was apparently responding to criticism of his government on load-shedding in Jammu city, which is reeling under heat wave.
He said the huge losses in transmission and distribution and due to power theft was making the situation unsustainable, forcing the government to go for load shedding.
"I've been very transparent about the power situation in the state. The 70 per cent loss/theft situation is unsustainable, so lead shedding happens," he added.
He said residents of non-metered areas resist installation of meters as they do not want to pay for power that they use and are happy in understating their electricity load.
"Metered areas, where earlier there was no loss, now has massive amounts of theft and bypassing of meters. So metered areas face load shedding," he added.
Omar admitted that some officials of the department were in collusion with unscrupulous consumers in committing power theft.
"The theft doesn't happen without collusion in the department which is why the process of un-bundling the T&D (Transmission and Distribution) sector has been started," he said.
"So while it's easy to blame government for everything, some amount of soul searching is also called for. Till then load shedding is a reality," he added.