JAMMU : Due to absolute non-seriousness of all the concerned agencies, Jammu and Kashmir has failed to generate even single unit of solar power for the third consecutive year despite having immense potential. Moreover, no significant progress has been made in the implementation of the schemes of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
“As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy, Jammu and Kashmir has solar power potential of 111.05 Giga Watt, which is the second highest in the country after Rajasthan where the potential is 142.32 Giga Watt but tapping this potential has remained confined to the official statements”, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
This can be gauged from the official figures, which reveal that during 2016-17, only 0.77 million units of solar power was generated by Jammu and Kashmir. However, not even a single unit was generated in 2017-2018 and 2018-19. Even during the current year the performance of concerned authorities of J&K has remained same till ending September.
With such a poor performance how J&K would be able to meet the target of tapping 1150 Mega Watts (1.15 Giga Watt) by 2022 has remained a million dollar question, sources said, adding “instead of merely issuing one after another statement mentioning that all out efforts are being made to tap the immense potential the successive Governments including the present one should have done something on the ground to come up to the expectations of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy”.
It may be recalled that the then Advisor to the then Governor of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir on December 20, 2018 had called for more progressive policy for solar power development in Jammu and Kashmir.
“J&K has vast potential for solar energy that must be harnessed for the betterment of the people”, he had stated while constituting a committee to visit different States with progressive solar power policies so that necessary amendments can be taken up by the concerned authorities to speed up the adoption of solar power in Jammu and Kashmir.
Again on July 11, 2019 the then Advisor announced that administration in general and concerned authorities in particular would come up with the comprehensive road-map for harnessing solar energy and also to make people aware of the benefits of the same by providing the necessary subsidies and other related things.
“Till date neither any exercise has been carried out for amendments in the solar policy of J&K nor any comprehensive road-map framed as a result of which there is not even a bit of improvement in tapping solar power potential”, sources regretted.
“Moreover, there is no significant progress in implementation of the solar programmes/schemes of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy as a result of which funding under these schemes to J&K remains very less”, sources said while disclosing that since 2016-17, J&K has received only Rs 10.21 crore assistance from the Ministry for grid connected solar rooftops. Of this amount, Rs 3.68 crore was received in 2016-17 and Rs 6.53 crore during current year but in 2017-18 and 2018-19 no money was given to J&K.
Similarly, under solar off grid applications no amount has been given to J&K during the current financial year so far while as Rs 1053 lakh was given in 2018-19. “Had there been seriousness in implementation of these schemes under National Solar Mission the Union Ministry could not have restricted flow of funds to J&K”, sources said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) is the nodal agency for the promotion and development of renewable energy programmes and projects in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The mandate of the agency covers the entire gamut of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and geothermal.
As far as Ladakh Union Territory (region of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir) is concerned, there are two different agencies in Leh and Kargil districts with the similar mandate.
“The Lieutenant Governors of J&K UT as well as UT of Ladakh should give necessary push to tapping of available solar energy potential otherwise it would not be possible to meet the targets fixed by the Union Ministry”, sources stressed.