Centre Rules Out Increase In Free Power To J&K

18 June 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In a development with far reaching consequences, the Central Government has made it clear to the State Government that it can change National Hydro-electric Power Corporation (NHPC) for future power projects construction as the Corporation can't afford more losses, which it was already suffering by spending nearly 50 per cent of overall profits here. The Centre has suggested the State Government to strengthen Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited and get the future power projects constructed from J&K's own firm instead of involving the NHPC, getting the projects constructed from the Central Corporation and then seeking their return to the State. Official sources told the Excelsior that the Centre was in no mood to consider demand of the J&K Government for increase in free power from the NHPC projects from 12 per cent to 25 per cent and ruled out any discussions, at least for the time being, on transfer of Dul Hasti or any other power project to the State Government. 'Jammu and Kashmir is the only State, which has imposed water cess on the power projects constructed by the NHPC, by which the NHPC was being made to pay Rs 600 crores every year to the State Government. Apart from Rs 600 crore earnings from the NHPC power projects in a year, the State Government was also enjoying 12 per free power from the NHPC projects,' sources said. Describing J&K Government's demand for increase in free power for the State from NHPC projects from 12 per cent to 25 per cent as 'unjustified', the Union Power Ministry has categorically rejected the demand saying this can't be met as it would open pandora box in other States also, where the NHPC has constructed the power projects or was engaged in constructions. Noting that the NHPC was spending 50 per cent of its overall profits in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Power Ministry has pointed out to the State Government that the Corporation can't afford more losses by giving away the projects constructed by it or increasing power share for the State from the NHPC projects from 12 per cent to 25 per cent. 'As an alternate, the Government of India has suggested to the State Government to create Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited as an alternate to the NHPC in Jammu and Kashmir for construction of power projects as it was J&K's own company. The Government has offered assistance to Chenab Valley Corporation in future construction of the power projects in the State,' sources said, adding that the Centre was ready to provide all possible help in construction of projects to the Chenab Valley Corporation. In a way, they said, the Centre has made it categorically clear to the State Government that it can do away with the NHPC from the future construction of power projects as under present terms and conditions, the NHPC had to suffer huge losses in Jammu and Kashmir through several terms and conditions imposed by the State Government, which were nowhere imposed in any other State, where the NHPC has worked or was working presently in construction of power projects. It may be mentioned here that 'Agenda of Alliance' of PDP-BJP coalition Government mentioned handover of Dul Hasti hydro electric power project to the State Government from the NHPC but subsequent replies given by the Union Power Minister to Jammu and Kashmir Members of Parliament (MPs) in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had ruled out return of power projects to the State.