The new power cut direction, which includes three nightlong and three daylong cuts, has the state government's Power Development Department (PDD) under severe criticism from civil society and the business community.
"It's a discriminatory curtailment schedule for the valley. The government cannot subject its people to such agonizing power cuts amid biting cold," said Shakeel Qalander, a member of the Kashmir Center for Social and Development Studies, in a statement on Thursday.
Last week, the PDD issued a fresh power curtailment schedule ---there are three evening cuts, two nightlong cuts besides morning and day cuts every week on rotational basis. The schedule will see only six to eight hour power supply in 24 hours.
The PDD official presented themselves before the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) on Thursday after it pulled up the power department for long hour powers cuts at the peak of winter with night temperature dropping below minus three degree Celsius. The civil society moved the SERC, a quasi-judicial authority to regulate energy sector in the state, against the PDDP load shedding schedule.
"In early 80s, we would face same cuts. It seems even after three decades the state government has not been able to improve electricity scenario of the state," said Rashid Ahmad, a resident of old city of Srinagar.
Federation of Commerce and Industries in Kashmir (FCIK) president Abdul Hamid Punjabi claimed that the power cuts will badly affect handicrafts industry in the state.
"In Handicrafts sector, there are chances of Rs 1700-2000 crore losses, affecting 50, 000 people associated with it by marring their livelihood," said Punjabi.
Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir president Mohammad Afzal Parray said there are chances of 50% losses to the handicraft production.
Kashmir Civil Society has set January 31 deadline for the government to stake claim over the three major projects.
Kashmir Civil Society chairperson Hameeda Nayeem asked the government to pitch for retrieval of the three major projects- Dulhasti, Salal and Uri-I.
"We had set December 31 as the deadline for the government to claim back the three projects," said Nayeem.
The state-owned power generation projects only are capable to generate only 90 MW every day due to low water discharge in local rivers against the requirement of 923 MW every day.