Kashmir plunged into darkness; web, mobile links snapped

Srinagar : The Kashmir Valley Saturday was isolated from the rest of the country and the world, its internet and mobile phone links silenced, as main power transmission lines from the national northern grid remained snapped since Friday.

As hundreds of thousands of people in cities, towns and villages across the Valley struggled with daily chores without power in sub-zero temperatures, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah personally kept tab on restoration of power lines that came down following heavy snowfall in the Pir Panjal range.

Internet connectivity between the valley and the rest of the world has been disrupted. Mobile phone connectivity in the valley has also been affected because of the unprecedented power crisis that has stretched for more than 22 hours.

Senior officials of the Power Development Department (PDD), declining to be named, told IANS: “Both the major transmission lines used to import power into the valley from the country’s northern grid — the 220 kilowatt Kishenpur-Pampore line and the 400 kilowatt Wagoora line — have snapped across the Pir Panjal mountains due to heavy snowfall. We are trying to restore our system on a war footing.”

The Jammu and Kashmir government imports around 800 MW of power from the national northern grid on a daily basis. HOwever, as the transmission lines have been snapped by adverse weather, the power receiving sub-stations have been shut down.

The domestic production of hydro-electric power within the valley is barely 200 MW a day, which cannot sustain even essential services.

The state government is now making arrangements with the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to divert 250 MW of power being generated by its Uri power project for the state’s use to overcome the crisis.

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