Cabinet Approves CSC Report For Reclaiming Salal, Uri-I Project

Cabinet Approves CSC Report For Reclaiming Salal, Uri-I Project

15 February 2012
Rising Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: In a significant development, the State cabinet Wednesday approved a report of cabinet sub-committee (CSC) advocating reclamation of Salal and Uri-I power projects from National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC). The CSC was also given the mandate to approach Government of India in this regard. It has also been directed to lobby for the return of Dulhasti project as advocated by Prime Minister’s Working Group led by C Rangarajan. The CSC was constituted after mounting pressure from the civil society that also came up with documental proof that NHPC was holding power projects in the State illegally. The CSC, headed by finance minister and comprising of eight cabinet ministers, submitted its report a month back suggesting Salal and Uri-I should be given back to the State. “We have a strong case. I collected documents after hectic efforts which revealed that NHPC was holding the charge of power projects illegally,” Minister for PHE and Irrigation, Taj Mohiudin told Rising Kashmir. He said accepting the report of CSC was an achievement. “This is for the first time that any State cabinet has accepted such a major report. We (CSC) had recommended return of only two projects, Salal and Uri-I. But the chief minister and the cabinet evolved a consensus that we should lobby for the return of Dulhasti as well.” “The return of this project to J&K has also been recommended by C Rangarajan in his report. We will cash in on this as well.” Taj said the CSC will finalize the modalities and approach GoI soon. He said if J&K manages to reclaim Salal and Uri-I, it would be the “biggest ever achievement”. “The return of projects will fetch us Rs 2000 crore revenue annually. Each district will get Rs 100 crore fund allotment.” The minister said the State has given Rs 2350 crore excess amount to NHPC as there was no record of transmission system. “Now we have proof in each case. We may have to pay some money to the NHPC before we take control of power projects.” Taj said the cabinet has directed Power Development Department (PDD) to work out losses incurred and other modalities in consultation with the law department so that the demand could be put forth before GoI. “It is to be seen whether the chief minister would like the existing CSC to proceed further on the issue or form a new CSC.” Besides, the CSC recommendations will be studied by the Power Development Corporation (PDC) as well. “For this purpose the PDC will work out project value of such projects which will become base for taking over these projects after the value is negotiated with NHPC,” the minister said. The sub-committee has pointed out that in the year 2000 there has been MOUs between state and GoI with regard to seven hydel projects including Kishen Ganga, Uri-II, Badsar, Sewa-II, Pakul Dul, Neemo- Bazgo and Chutak. The cabinet, sources said, made it clear that once the execution agreement will come to end, the State should take over the charge of these projects without any fail. “As per the agreement, all these seven projects are required to be handed over back to the state government after their final execution by NHPC,” sources said. Meanwhile, Kashmir Civil Society, spearheading the campaign for the return of power projects, welcomed cabinet decision though cautiously. “We will see how far government can go. Making mere statements won’t do,” said chairperson KCS, Hameeda Nayeem.