Return of Power Projects: ‘Issue Raised With PM,’ says Govt

SRINAGAR:  After Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) formally rejected J&K government’s proposal of getting back National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) owned power projects in state, the PDP-BJP coalition government on Friday, however, said that the matter has been raised with the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, himself.

Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu, today said that the Jammu and Kashmir government is holding “hectic parleys” with the GoI over the return of at least two power projects from the power giant NHPC.

The NHPC is running seven hydroelectric power projects in the J&K which include Salal, Uri-I, Dulhasti, Sewa-II, Uri-II, Chutak and Nimmo Bazgo.

Drabu said that the chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, during her recent visit to New Delhi raised the issue with the Prime Minister and “that the state government is optimistic of a serious breakthrough soon”.

Without divulging more details, Drabu said, “hopes could be raised over the return of at least two power projects from the NHPC to the state government.”

The Prime Minister’s Office, in its first formal response, while refusing to back the State’s demand, had told J&K authorities that it can only explore possibility of making Power Development Corporation (PDC)-owned Baglihar hydropower project debt-free.

“We (state government) have been very much involved in the entire process and we are working on the modalities that could pave way for making it happen,” Drabu said.

NHPC while resisting the J&K government move has stated that it may run into problems in respect of agreements already signed with various beneficiary states.

However, Drabu said, “CM is rigorously pursuing the matter with the GoI and her recent meeting with the Prime Minister has been ‘fruitful’.”

When asked whether the royalties between NHPC and the state government would be reframed too, Drabu said government’s “prime focus at present is about the return of the power projects and it is working on this direction only for now”.

“I cannot give you the exact date when projects would be returned but I can give you assurance that the matter is seriously being discussed and it will yield desired results for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the economist-Finance Minister said.

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