Jammu- In a historic moment for energy sufficiency in Jammu and Kashmir, memoranda of understanding were on Sunday signed for implementation of much awaited mega hydro power projects to make the union territory a power surplus region in the country.
The MoUs for implementation of 850 MW Ratle HEP and 930 MW Kirthai-II HEP, besides execution of long pending Sawalkot HEP (1856 MW), Uri-I (Stage-II) (240 MW) and Dulhasti (Stage-II) (258 MW) were signed between J&K Power Development Department (PDD), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and J&K Power Development Corporation in presence of Union minister R K Singh and Jitendra Singh and J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha here.
The occasion also witnessed inauguration of as many as 19 important projects of PDD aimed at greater generation, efficient transmission and better distribution of power supply in J&K during the mega inauguration ceremony.
Welcoming the signing of the MoU, Sinha said it would attract investments worth Rs 35,000 crore for Jammu and Kashmir power sector and ensure the region's energy security and 24-hour power supply to the people of J&K.
"J&K is taking a quantum leap from being power deficit to becoming power surplus in the next four years. For uninterrupted power supply, this is the most significant move by the J&K government," he said.
As per the provisions of these MoUs, the Lt Governor said the projects would be handed back to Jammu and Kashmir after 40 years of commercial operation which was not in case of earlier projects allotted to NHPC Limited.
Speaking on tapping the full potential of hydro energy, the Lt Governor observed that the vision of the government is to effectively harness hydro energy resources of J&K with a goal to double the energy generation by 2024 and also to prepare a strategy for efficiency through policies, monitoring mechanism to ensure energy security for economic and social benefits.
Hydro electricity would be a major contributor to the world's energy security in view of the global shift towards sustainable energy and reduction of carbon emissions.
"Our efforts are steering Jammu and Kashmir towards its energy sufficient and empowered future," he added.
The Lt Governor said the numerous hydro resources of Jammu and Kashmir are capable of generating 14,867 MW power but the potential had not been fully exploited, and only 3504 MW power was being generated till now.
"The works started now will ensure that another 3498 MW power is generated in the next three to four years. The potential which was achieved in 70 years would now be doubled within the next four years only," he said.
Sinha said J&K's journey from a power deficit to a power surplus region can only be realised with vision and planning.
"Entire overhaul is being made possible with the support of the central government without any expenditure by the UT administration," the Lt Governor remarked.
Out of the two agreements, the NHPC would work in association with the administration at the first and the languishing Sawalkot project would be handed over to NHPC for completion under the second.
The project has been perpetually postponed since its conception in 1984 and was expected to generate 1856 MW power, he said.
Underscoring the significance of clean, affordable and reliable energy as key factors for growth of industries, businesses and society, the Lt Governor said the UT government is working on environmentally sustainable solar plants to augment renewable energy generation while reviving small hydro projects pending for a long time.
"Jammu and Kashmir was deliberately prevented from attracting investments and despite having abundant potential of power generation; its energy needs were not addressed," he said.
With the execution of new mega power projects, Sinha said a number of other employment avenues would be generated for the locals.
"In addition to power generation, strengthening its distribution and transmission infrastructure will also receive our equal efforts, the Lt Governor maintained.
Highlighting various measures taken by the government to streamline power supply across the UT, he said that during the 'winter preparation' meeting conducted last year, efforts were made to ensure that except for the scheduled power cuts, the public gets regular power supply.
"Any disruption in power supply was directed to be rectified within minimum time and a customer care centre was also set up for the purpose in Kashmir division last month. A similar centre was also launched in Jammu division today," he said.
The Lt Governor said the year 2021 has been given a stupendous start as the UT administration signed various MoUs for the development of Jammu and Kashmir, which include MoU with NAFED to bring reforms in the horticulture sector, for high density plantations, cold storage cluster, market linkage and GI tagging of local products including the announcement of Rs 2200 crore investment in the UT by NAFED.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Jitendra Singh, said the mega hydro power projects will not only generate employment but would increase the per capita income of J&K.
He dedicated all the inaugurated projects to the common people of J&K.
"All issues inherited from past regimes would be addressed meritoriously taking care of all the stakeholders. J&K will see a new dawn of energy sufficiency and thereby development in all sectors," he added.
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