A postgraduate in economics from the University of Kashmir, Basharat Ahmad Dhar joined the state civil services in 1976. In his over four-decade-long career, he has held key positions in various departments of the state government, including those of power secretary and managing director (MD) of the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC) as well as energy secretary. He joined the Jammu and Kashmir State Electricity Regulatory Commission (JKSERC) as chairman in August 2013. In this position, he has the challenging task of resolving regulatory issues to bring about a turnaround in the state’s power sector.
Dhar has been involved with various facets of sector reforms. At JKSPDC, he was instrumental in implementing the State Hydro Projects Development Policy, 2011. During his tenure there, the company was allotted its first coal block for setting up a base-load thermal power station. This experience helped him develop a sound understanding of the state’s power scenario.
He believes that the power sector in the state is “poised for a major breakthrough”. “The Power Development Department is being unbundled and the commission is issuing separate tariff orders, thereby bringing in transparency,” he says. Moreover, various steps are being taken to harness over 20,000 MW of hydel potential in the state. The Baglihar Hydroelectric Projects I and II, with a total capacity of 900 MW, have been commissioned and a new state hydel policy has been announced to attract private investment. Various distribution reforms are also under way. He believes that schemes like UDAY, the IPDS and DDUGJY, along with the thrust on renewable energy will ensure accelerated sector growth. His most memorable assignment was supervision of rehabilitation works following the 2005 earthquake as divisional commissioner, Kashmir. He also recalls his special assignment as deputy commissioner of Doda, wherein he had to conduct assembly elections under extraordinary circumstances in 2002.
To maintain a healthy work-life balance, Dhar ensures he goes for a daily walk. He likes reading autobiographies and scriptures. He also enjoys listening to ghazals from the 1960s and 1970s. Later in life, he intends to travel with his family and write a book based on his power sector experiences. Dhar’s family includes his wife, a retired lecturer, and their two children, both engineering graduates.