Taj Rejects GoI Claims On NHPC-run Projects In J&K

Taj Rejects GoI Claims On NHPC-run Projects In J&K

17 October 2012
Rising Kashmir
Sajad Kralyari

Srinagar: Minister for Irrigation and Flood Control, Taj Mohiuddin Wednesday said the state government has not settled the issue of power projects with National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) as claimed by Union Power Minister, Veerappa Moily. Terming Moily’s statement as unfounded and factually incorrect, Taj said, “We will reclaim the state’s power projects from NHPC. Government of India can’t rule out return of projects to the state. We are legal owners of the projects that are run illegally by NHPC in J&K.” During the Economic Editors Conference held in New Delhi on October 9, the union power minister had said NHPC won’t return the power projects to J&K and that the issue has already been settled with the state government. “There is no question of returning the NHPC-run power projects to J&K state. The issue is already settled with J&K government and the power projects will be run by NHPC,” Moily had said. Responding to the statement, Taj said the state government has not sent any claim to the central government for power projects “so there is no question of making any settlement”. “The claims made by union power minister are unfounded and not based on facts. We totally reject his claims,” he said. The Omar Abdullah-led government has been quite vocal about the need to reclaim the three major power projects- 690 MW Salal, 480 MW Uri I and 390 MW Dulhasti. Salal is the oldest of NHPC projects that generates cheapest clean energy in India at present. NHPC, as per the state government claims, lacks basic ownership documents for Salal which has become a major issue in J&K politics. While the agreement that J&K signed with NHPC permits it to reclaim the Uri project and buy it back at depreciated cost, there is no such clause in the agreement on Dulhasti project. The state government has been claiming that NHPC has no legal authority to run the power projects and the contract with the company had already expired in 1987. Taj said government has formed a committee which will fight for reclaiming the power projects from NHPC. “We have legal and sound claim and have not given ownership of the power projects to NHPC. It is the property of the state; we had only given the power projects for execution. We have formed a committee and we will soon sit together with NHPC to see how we can reclaim the projects,” said the minister. Notably, NHPC is constructing more power projects in the state under XII plan Capacity Addition Programme which include 44 MW Chutak, 240 MW Ur II, 45 MW Nimoo-Bazgo and 330 MW Kishanganga power projects. The projects currently under NHPC investigation and survey include Bursar Power project, which will generate 1020 MW of power, Pakal Dul, Kiru and Kwar which will generate 2120 MWs. Taj said J&K government would discuss modalities for the execution of the newly constructed power projects by NHPC. “The committee will also chart out modalities for execution of the new power projects in the state.” Meanwhile, Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), which spearheads the civil society campaign for return of power projects from NHPC, has accused the state government of adopting a policy of ‘deceit’ and ‘duplicity’. “State government needs to come clear on its stand on the power projects. If the government has entered into any agreement with NHPC, it has to be conveyed to the public. Government is deceiving people as it has avoided explaining its position,” said Shakeel Qalandar of KCSDS. “We have proved that NHPC doesn’t possess any document or license to generate power in the state. The state government has to exert authority to remove the illegal and unconstitutional occupation of NHPC. It (government) has adopted policy of deceit and duplicity,” said Qalandar. He said the government should allow NHPC to execute new power projects on the lines of the agreement it has entered with GVK Hyderabad on Rattle power project.