Question Mark Over NHPC’s Investments Worth Rs 7,800 Cr

Question Mark Over NHPC’s Investments Worth Rs 7,800 Cr

21 June 2012
Hindu Business Line
Siddhartha P Saikia

New Delhi: Investments worth Rs 7,800 crore made by NHPC Ltd in Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh may just go waste because of local protests and socio-political issues. These projects have been stalled after clearances were obtained and NHPC had started work. Also, since the past four years, the public sector power company is still awaiting clearances for another 10,000 MW projects. “We could not plan new projects because we could not get clearances. Our budget utilisation during the Eleventh Plan fell substantially short only because project did not come. We are sitting over cash reserves of Rs 6,000 crore. We have substantial capacity to take up and invest in new projects, but delay in clearances is holding up new projects,” Mr A.B.L. Srivastava, Chairman and Managing Director of NHPC, told Business Line. NHPC spent nearly Rs 1,800 crore for the 240 MW Uri-II project in Jammu and Kashmir. Another Rs 6,000 crore was spent on the 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri project in Arunachal Pradesh. “The work in Uri-II has been stopped because of a strike since March. In Subansiri, we have already spent Rs 6,000 crore and the project is held up due to protests,” said Mr Srivastava. “Asking for non-development or abandoning a project once clearances have been issued is very unfortunate. Clearances are not given by individuals, but by institutions. Hence, there should not be any review,” he added. Both Uri-II and Subansiri were slipped over projects from the Eleventh Plan. According to the earlier Plan, Uri-II is scheduled to be commissioned in August 2012 and Subansiri is to be completed by December 2015. “Once a project is stopped mid-way, re-mobilisation of assets takes time,” Mr Srivastava said. NHPC’s 5,965 MW projects are in different stages of clearance. Additional 3,686 MW projects that NHPC plans to commission as joint ventures are also in queue. “These clearances are pending for over three to four years,” the Chairman said. At present, NHPC operates 14 hydropower stations with aggregate capacity of 5,295 MW. The company has a capital expenditure plan of Rs 29,000 crore for the Twelfth Plan period.