Addressing people in the Surankote area of Poonch district, where he laid the foundation stone of the Rs.640.40 crore 37.50 MW Parnia hydro-electric power project, he said his government was committed to realising the generation of 9,000 megawatts (MWs) of hydro-electric power in the state within the next seven or eight years.
The chief minister said his vision of economic autonomy to the state was linked with the harnessing of the 20,000 MW hydro power potential available in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The total power generation in the state stood at 750 MWs per annum indigenously since the time of independence. The government has launched hydro electro projects of the capacity of 1,750 MWs in the last five years.
“The important turnaround in the financial resources of Jammu and Kashmir is only possible when the state generates surplus power to export it to other states and earns substantial revenue for its development.
“The day is not far off, if we continue to focus on generation of hydro power when the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, instead of demanding financial assistance from the central government, would offer financial help to the centre for the upliftment of people and launch of schemes elsewhere in the country”, Omar Abdullah said.
He said Allah had bestowed his blessings on Jammu and Kashmir in the shape of natural beauty and abundance of water resources.
“Both these could be utilised to give a fillip to the economic conditions of the state. While tourism is dependent on normality, generation of power, though of longer gestation, is a permanent avenue to revolutionise the financial status of the state as also to catapult the job creation scenario and economic activities”, he said.
Omar Abdullah said that while the Parnai Project will generate 37.5 MW of power after its completion within the next four years, it will also eradicate the chances of floods in Surankote area besides helping irrigate agricultural land and generate employment for locals.
“I have told the minister of state for power to work with the local administration for identifying 250 to 300 youth of the area who would be provided free training, including free boarding and lodging in the training institutions outside the state so that after completing the required training they get absorbed in the upcoming Parnai project.
“I have also given categorical direction to the power companies in constructing various power houses in the state to necessarily engage the locally available skilled and non-skilled youth in these projects and also identify the trades where the state government could help to upgrade the skills of locals so that they are easily absorbed in these projects”, he said.