Sunday, March 22, 2009

World Water Day

Chenab power projects

Is it an arrangement by Delhi to exploit JK water resources? 


NASEER A GANAI
Srinagar, Mar 21: Formation of a Joint Venture Company, Chenab Power Projects (Pvt) Limited, to tap the hydel potential in Chenab basin is seen by experts, industrialists and the common man as yet another attempt by the centre to exploit the state’s resources. Calling the arrangement one-sided and discriminatory to JK’s interests, they have sought scrapping of the deal.
 The company, that would develop 2120 MW of power, was formed after the state government signed a MoU with National Hydro-electric Power Corporation in October, 2008. 
 The then managing director, Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation, Shant Manu, had told Greater Kashmir that once the popular government returned, the Chief Minister would be nominated as the ex-officio chairman of the company. But that is yet to happen even after an elected government is in place for more than 70 days past.
 The NHPC will have a share of not less than 51 per cent and the PDC not more than 49 per cent of the total share-holding in the company.
 The business fraternity has reacted sharply to the MoU, saying the state’s water resources were being ‘sold out’ to Delhi. The president of Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Shakeel Qalandar, termed the arrangement as one-sided. He said there was no need for the government to sign the MoU with the NHPC that has already ‘taken seven projects and is known for its inefficiency.’ “It took NHPC 30 years to complete Dulhasti and Salal projects, and the company has not compensated the state for the excess time. One wonders why the government goes for deals with the NHPC?” he asked, urging the state government to scrap the MoU.
 He said Baglihar was a success story and despite financial hassles and other hurdles, the state completed it in nine years. He said the state could have developed the projects in the Chenab basin on its own. 
 Some senior officials said on condition of anonymity that “less than 49 per cent” provision for the State was a mockery. “The deal needs to be re-looked at as it amounts to be playing with the interests of the State,” says an official.
 The biggest project to be built on Chenab is Pakal Dul, a reservoir-based scheme on river Marusudar, the main tributary of river Chenab, in Kishtwar district. The project envisages an underground powerhouse of 1000 MW, 4 units of 250 MW each. Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi would be major beneficiaries of the project.
 “For Delhi, JK is a colony and its water resources are to be looted. The central government has no concern if JK starves for power while feeding entire north India. It first blocks JK’s move to built its own projects by refusing to give counter-guarantee to the interested foreign investors, then makes the state sign discriminatory deals with NHPC,” said Javed, a university student.
 In 2000, the NHPC ‘took away’ seven projects from the State. They include 240 MW Uri II, 330 MW Kishanganga, 120 MW Seva II, 1000 MW Bursar, 44 MW Chitak, 45 MW Nemo-Buzgo. The State government tried to develop these projects itself but the central government stalled the move by not giving counter-guarantees to foreign firms which were interested in developing these projects, forcing the then chief minister, Farooq Abdullah, to handover the projects to the NHPC.
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