Amid Kashmir unrest PDD forgets RAPDRP project

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Pardeep Singh Bali
Whereas the continuous spate of violence has halted the developmental activities in Kashmir Valley, surprisingly the officials of Power Development Department (PDD) have forgotten the ambitious RAPDRP project in Jammu as well.
Rs 160 crore, Restructured Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme (RAPDRP) project, envisaged to upgrade the power infrastructure in the state is in limbo since past more than 55 days due to turmoil in Kashmir valley.
In this regard, according to highly placed sources, the IT Implementation agency-WIPRO has started removing local staff from the project and the project has been taken over by the PDD, thus breaching the agreement.
“The PDD is handling the project by its own despite an agreement with Wipro, due to which the local staff is being removed from the project. This is breach of agreement on the part of PDD, as they cannot handle the project at the level of consultant,” said sources.
They said that the project was started in 2012 and PDD had selected Wipro as its IT Implementation agency to roll out the programme.
“The focus of the programme is to reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses in power distribution and management across state utilities and the engagement with Wipro was expected to establish reliable and automated systems for sustained collection of accurate baseline data for Jammu and Kashmir Power Department, as well as enhance adoption of Information Technology in the areas of energy accounting,” sources said and added the project was envisaged to reduce AT&C losses, outages and interruptions, thereby increasing consumer satisfaction.
The sources further maintained that at present the department is incurring losses of Rs 12-13 crore a month in the shape of non payment of bills, besides project losses. Taking dig at the government for not tasking the
project seriously, sources within the department said that though the situation in Kashmir is volatile and it is not favourable to carry out works, but things in Jammu are fine, why do not concerned department shift the entire team of Kashmir to Disaster Recovery Center in Jammu, which at present is ‘idle’.
Meanwhile, senior PDD official wishing anonymity said that most of the work on the project is done from Kashmir, but Wipro has established a data center and disaster recovery center in Jammu, which was set to make operational in case of emergencies.
“It is disgusting that instead of shifting the work to Jammu region, the higher ups are making delays, due to which local staffers are being taken off the project, besides state facing losses worth crores,” official said and added out of total 58 town to be covered across Jammu and Kashmir, only 31 have been so far completed.
“The Jammu shares 50 percent of the project, but till date only one town in Jammu has been covered under this project, RS Pura, rest over 90 percent of the project in Jammu is still incomplete,” said official, adding 30 towns in Kashmir have been successfully covered.
He further suggested that taking opportunity of the situation in Kashmir, the government and concerned department would have shifted the project to Jammu based disaster recovery center, which is situated at Galdni-Narwal.
“With this the department would have saved time as well as cost escalation. Moreover the pending towns in Jammu would have been completed in this time, if project was taken with proper stress,” he asserted.
When tried to contact Chief Engineer-PDD Kashmir Basheer Khan, he was unavailable for comments.

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