Return of Power Projects: NHPC ‘Resists’ Govt Move

Srinagar :Jammu and Kashmir Government has said that during discussions with Government of India (GoI) on the return of power projects as recommended by Rangarajan Committee, National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) resisted the move stating that it may run into problems in respect of agreements already signed with various beneficiary states.

In response to the queries raised by a number of law makers in State Legislative Assembly with regard to the return of power projects, the PDP-BJP Government has said that the Task Force on development of J&K headed by Dr Rangarajan in its initial report recommended transfer of Salal power project to Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the Task Force in its final report recommended transfer of Dulhasti HEP to J&K as Ministry of Power, Government of India had opposed transfer of Salal HEP to J&K.

Apart from this, the Task Force had recommended return of Burser HEP to the State along with associated funding. It recommended that NHPC be compensated by the GoI for returning Dulhasti project to J&K.

The Government, according to a local news agency CNS, said that after “resisting” the move by NHPC, the Prime Minister’s Office asked Power Ministry to explore other alternatives in consultation with the State Government including the possibility of making Baglihar HEP debt free.

“The matter has thereafter been raised by the State from time to time in various for a including in a presentation to the then Prime Minister by the then Chief Minister of the State in 2009, and in Power Minister’s Conference on multiple occasions.”

The State Government has said that in 2011 a cabinet-sub committee was constituted to look into various issues arising from the terms and conditions of entrustment of hydroelectric projects to NHPC.

The cabinet-sub committee submitted its recommendation which were accepted by the cabinet in February 2012.

The cabinet-sub committee recommended that the State should seek return of Salal HEP on the depreciated cost.

“Regarding Uri-I HEP, it recommended that its buy-back being inherent in the terms and conditions of the execution of this project by NHPC, the State Government should exercise the option of seeking the return of the project to the State after paying its depreciated cost. Regarding Dulhasti HEP, the Cabinet Sub-Committee recommended that the State Government should forcefully seek transfer of Dulhasti Project to the State by suitably compensating NHPC by the Government of India.”

The Government said that regarding Dulhasti HEP, the cabinet sub-sommittee recommended that the State Government should forcefully seek transfer of Dulhasti Project to the State by suitably compensating NHPC by the GoI.

Regarding the HEP’s entrusted to NHPC in July 2000, the cabinet sub-sommittee recommended that there being an inbuilt provision for return of these projects, the same should be exercised by the State, as and when it is in a position to do so, after paying their depreciated cost. It also recommended seeking enhancement in free power share of the State from the Central Sector projects beyond the 12% presently available.

“Subsequently, JKSPDC (State Power Development Corporation) was authorized to work out the present cost of these projects on the basis of internationally accepted norms to form a basis for further negotiations with NHPC/GoI. J&KSPDC took up matter with NHPC for furnishing of details for the purpose and despite repeated requests by J&KSPDC, NHPC didn’t respond to these requests and didn’t provide the details. In the absence of details from NHPC, J&KSPDC tried to work out the cost on its own without formal involvement of NHPC by using the documents available in the public domain like audited balance sheets and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) orders. An Independent Consultant was hired by J&KSPDC for the purpose and based on these documents the Consultant has calculated the present cost of Salal, Uri-I, Dulhusti, Uri-II, Sewa-II, Nimo Bazgo and Chutuk HEP’s. The report of the Consultant is under examination in the J&KSPDC.”

The Jammu Kashmir Government said that on 16 March 2015, the Deputy Chief Minister and the Finance Minister met the Union Power Minister formally and impressed upon the Government of India the need for transfer of power projects of Dul Hasti and Uri from NHPC to State among other important issues of power sector.

The issue was again raised by the Deputy Chief Minister in the Power Ministers Conference held in Guwahti in April 2015 and Goa in June 2016.

“We are actively pursuing the matter with the Government of India,” claimed the government, however, this claim has been termed a hollow one by majority of the law makers from the Kashmir Valley.

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