Recover Outstanding Power Dues From Troops in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Dec 30: A day after Chief minister of Indian administered Kashmir Omar Abdullah urged the moderate separatist leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to advise people not to resort to power cuts, the cleric Friday asked the government to recover Rs 750 crore outstanding power dues fromgovernment offices, army and paramilitary forces.

Addressing a public gathering after Friday congregation prayers in Central Kashmir, Mirwaiz said, “Our natural resources have been looted and exploited by Indian for last 65 years. The Indian government is working on a deliberate strategy to make Kashmiris dependent for their survival. If Arab countries could prosper on oil resources, Kashmir could have done so on water resources.”

He blamed the Indian government for not allowing Kashmiris to take benefit from their own natural resources. “India has made us slaves by taking control of all our resources. We can generate 20,000 MW electricity from our water resources which can fetch us Rs 60,000 crore annually. However, Indian government is not allowing us to exploit our resources,” he said.

“People, who are asking us to tell people to pay electricity bills, should know that government offices owe Rs 750 crores as electricity bill to the State exchequer. The government offices, institutions and Indian forces are major defaulters,” Mirwaiz said.

Asking Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to check out the power thefts by Indian forces in Kashmir, he said, “Before accusing people of power thefts, the government should check out the power thefts by Army, CRPF and other Indian forces, who are stationed in every nook and corner of the state. This government must see how much power is stolen by these occupying forces and afterwards accuse people of power thefts”.

“They ask people to pay the electricity bills. People have no hesitance in paying the pending bills but only if there is electricity. We have bulbs at our homes but without electricity. Provide us the electricity and people will not shy away from paying their dues. Moreover, we have been paying taxes in various forms and it is the duty of authorities to provide an uninterrupted power supply to our homes,” added Mirwaiz.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.