Friday, April 17, 2009

Govt's excuse to handover Baglihar to NHPC

Jammu, Apr 16: A spokesman of the J&K State Power Development Corporation has acknowledged the report about the Baglihar Hydro Power Project controlled by NHPC saying Baglihar being highly sophisticated and state-of-the-art project, its operation and maintenance was felt to be outsourced to the NHPC for a limited period which would be utilized for training of its own engineers and technicians as the requisite level of expertise was not available in JKSPDC and within the state government to run such a sophisticated plant.

The spokesman said in September 2008 a technical committee of top most engineers of the JKSPDC including the executive director and the chief engineer, Generation, Jammu had recommended that as the requisite level of expertise was not available within JKSPDC and in the state government to run such a sophisticated plant, it would be appropriate to outsource its operation and maintenance for a limited period of time which could also be utilized for training its own engineers and technicians.
Giving details, the spokesman said that in pursuance to the technical committee’s recommendation, JKSPDC called for offers from different quarters, including M/S Precision Engg. Services, M/S Siemens, M/S JAL and NHPC. The offers were examined by a high level committee of JKSPDC which was of the view that all offers except that of NHPC were incomplete in terms of their scope. 
The spokesman said an Apex Committee headed by the chief secretary and comprising financial commissioner, Planning and Development, commissioner/secretary, Finance, commissioner/secretary, PDD, managing director, JKSPDC and JKSPDC senior engineers felt that the NHPC offer should be guided by CERC norms on operation and maintenance which comes to Rs. 74 crore for the first year. He said within this amount, NHPC will also train all engineers and technicians of JKSPDC working for Baglihar project. The number of JKSPDC employees working for the project is going to be approximately 250, he added.
The spokesman said that the board of directors met in Jammu on March 25, 2009, and decided that the Baglihar project would be made commercially operational from April 1, 2009 and the operation and maintenance contract for the project would be given to NHPC for a limited period. He said the recruitment process for complete staff for Baglihar project is underway.


The JKSPDC response does not deny our story. In fact, it has authenticated the facts that the government has given Baglihar to NHPC. The spokesman is silent about shelving of the recruitment process in the JKSPDC in 2004-2005 when the PDP-led coalition was in power. The JKSPDC had conducted interviews to select engineers for training them for the operation and maintenance of Baglihar. However, the list was shelved for unknown reasons even after the selection process was complete. Why?
By sabotaging the recruitment process, heavy losses have been inflicted on the state exchequer. Now, the state has to pay Rs 120 crore to the NHPC for maintenance and operation of the project. Had the concerned officials recruited and trained the people in time, and had the PDP-Congress coalition government taken the issue seriously, the state could have saved Rs 100 crore and ploughed the money back into development of 93 MW new Ganderbal project, which requires Rs 500 crores only.

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