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100 years later, Kashmir still powerless

The first power house in Kashmir was started in 1905. And 100 years later electricity is still to illuminate whole of Kashmir. While the Power scenario in general is bad hundreds of villages are still to be electrified. Despite rich potential of electricity generation in the region skewed politics has left Kashmiris powerless. Haroon Mirani reports.

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The Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department (PDD) is currently celebrating its centenary celebrations. Quite a feat for any department but PDD here is keeping it a low key affair. Reason: With the exception of glorious history it has nothing to show off in the present scenario.

In the summers of 1905, Kashmir's first and South Asia's second Hydro Power House, after Mysore, started generating electricity and illuminated the valley much to the amazement of ignorant locals then.

The building of 4 x 1000 KVA Mohra Power House in Uri was in fact an achievement at that time for the General Electrics (GE) of America, who provided entire technical support and the required machinery. Shortly afterwards this power station served to light thousands of Kashmiri homes besides a small number of industrial units like buskers, flour and oil grinders, band saws, silk reeling, weaving and spinning.

Wiring over hundreds of kilometres was carried out to transmit electricity to Srinagar, Baramulla and Muzaffarabad. Although in 1905-1906 Mohra was partially inaugurated still the supply was enough to meet the demands of undivided Kashmir. Since then electricity became one of the most sought after commodities in Kashmir ..........

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