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Eight Villages In J&K Get Electricity After Seven Decades, Thanks to DC Kupwara, Anshul Garg

Kupwara Deputy Commissioner Anshul Garg’s year-long efforts bear fruits as the eight villages in Keran and Machil areas get connected to the national electricity grid.
Indian Masterminds Stories

It was a historic moment. People were ecstatic, some even shrieked in joy. They had reason to be happy as residents of Keran and Machil villages in Kupwara district along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir got power for the first time in seven decades, thanks to Kupwara Deputy Commissioner Anshul Garg’s year-long efforts.

Since all these years the files on this crucial matter were being passed from one table to another, however, no Government department took the load of looking into the matter. As far as we know, receiving electricity is a fundamental right of an individual.

Describing the region, Mr. Anshul Garg told Indian Masterminds, “Kupwara which is the northernmost district of Kashmir is bordered by the longest LoC of around 170 kilometers towards the north. Besides, there are several border pockets in the district which are disconnected from the district headquarter as they are separated by a high altitude mountain range. One can only reach these areas by traversing the high altitude road. Due to high snowfall in the region, these paths are blocked during the month of November till the road is convenient enough to use. Hence, people living in these areas have no connectivity from electricity and the basic commodities for around 4-5 months.”

Apart from receiving three hours of electricity, people in Keran and Machil villages (the two border pockets which were provided electricity) were dependent on decade-old diesel generator (DG) sets. Even the diesel required for the generator was transported from the district headquarters.

Due to the decade-old DG sets, repairing at times of breakdown was next to impossible and also used to disrupt the power supply more.

Mr. Garg when first stepped as the Deputy Commissioner in Kupwara in February 2019 the general elections were just around the corner.

“One thing I noticed after the polling was that the poll percentage in Keran and Machil was abnormally high. It was more than the total poll percentage in the whole district. When I started interacting with the local people in these border areas I faced many pro-development people who are casting their vote for the hope of development of their areas.”

Mr. Anshul Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara

During these interactions, he met a delegation from Keran and Machil village who innocently asked him “Kya hume bijli mil sakti hai sir? (can we get electricity sir).” This question rattled him and also gave him the power to deal with the situation.

Another project of extending the 33 KV line to Keran was conceived in 2012 which aimed at establishing a 33/ 11 KV Grid Station at a cost of Rs 6.5 crore by the government. This project became a hope among the villagers as the project could solve the power supply problems, they were facing from the past 70 years.

However, just like any other project no substantial progress was made which lead to another loss of hopes of the people. During these seven years, some solar lighting systems were installed which were only operational mostly in summers and had limited efficiency.

The project gathered some attention when Niti Aayog declared Kupwara as an ‘aspirational’ district among 112 other districts. However, the project was just lacking in the right implementation.

District Administration Meeting (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
District Administration Meeting (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

“In April 2019 we started with clearing the 40 km corridor for erecting the towers and proper mobilization of manpower. Then I formed inter-department teams that were put out on a mission-mode to ensure that no file remains pending for any department clearance. We faced a lot of challenges during the process because of the law and order in the state, abrogation of Article 370, and subsequently from the Covid pandemic.”

Mr. Anshul Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara
Installation of electric grid (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
Installation of electric grid (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

Negotiating low manpower due to the abrogation of Article 370, the thrilling weather conditions, and the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, the district administration of Kupwara led by Mr. Anshul Garg managed to connect 8 villages out of 11 in the border pockets, Keran and Machil with the electricity grid.

“For the first in their life, they are getting around 14-15 hours of electricity at power with the district headquarter. We are planning to connect the rest of the villages in the area by 15 October as by that time winter sets in.”

Mr. Anshul Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara

Ending a seven-decade-long wait, he is now benefitting people living in these 8 villages in regards to better health care, education to students, drinking water supply, lift irrigation system, etc.


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