Wednesday, July 1, 2009

As Kashmir burns, govt takes decisions on Chenab waters

Ratifies controversial JKPDC-NHPC MoU

Naseer A Ganai/ Mudasir Ali 
Srinagar, June 30: Despite stiff opposition by various political parties and trade bodies, the State Government Monday ratified the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of India subsidiary, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) for construction of three hydro power projects on Chenab river, in a joint venture with Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation (JKPDC). 
The state cabinet has not made any amendments to the controversial draft MoU framed during the governor’s rule last year for construction of three projects including, Pakal Dul (1000 mw), Kiru (600 mw) and Kawar (520 mw). The joint venture company, Chenab Valley Power Development Corporation (CVPDC), was created last year to harness the water resources of the Chenab basin for power generation.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that as per the MOU drafted in December 2008, and later given nod by the state cabinet during its meeting on June 13 this year, NHPC would have the share of not less than 49 percent while JKPDC’s share would not more than 49 percent in the joint venture. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) would hold two percent share holding in the JV.
According to sources, the state cabinet in its order No 168 of June 13 gave nod to the MoU and the same was conveyed to a team of officials from NHPC by the JKPDC authorities on Monday.
Confirming the ratification of MoU, commissioner secretary Power Development Department (PDD), Sandeep K Naik told Greater Kashmir that they have conveyed the cabinet decision to NHPC. “The NHPC authorities were asked to start work on the projects,” he said.
Ruing the government’s decision of not bringing any change in the controversial MoU, the officials in the PDC said it means the share of NHPC in the JVC would never fall below 51 per cent and could go even above 51 percent while in case of JKSPDC it could be anywhere between 1 to 49 percent depending on the availability of resources with the JK government and in any case it can’t go beyond 49 percent.
“It gives an excuse to state government to sell its share to NHPC in case of non-availability of resources at any time. Instead the government should have sought an amendment in the MoU seeking inclusion of the term not less than 49 percent for JKSPDC as well,” said a PDC Official. 
Under the agreement, the JKSPDC and NHPC have got the rights to purchase share holding of the other partner. “Not less than 49 percent provision would have bound the government to maintain its share holding,” the official said. 
However, Nayak told Greater Kashmir that they have taken the matter with the joint venture committee of the NHPC and have sought parity in the share holding.
“We have put forth our viewpoint before the committee to review the agreement so as to bring parity in share holding between the two corporations,” he said.
However, the trading bodies are not ready to buy the government version. President, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Shakeel Qalandar described it as “jugglery of words”. 
“The MoU is anti-state and we had sought its scrapping last year,” Qalandar said, adding the government could have done away with the disparity in the MoU had it been serious on the issue.
Coming up at an estimated cost of Rs 5511.83 crore within next six years, 1000 mw Pakal Dul power project is located on river Marusudar in Doda district. The 600-mw Kiru project is planned at 25 kms upstream of Dulhasti hydro power project as run of the river scheme on Chenab and is located in Kishtwar. Its estimated cost is Rs 2381.92 crore and is to be commissioned in five years.
The Kawar project is planned as a run of river scheme near Padyarna village in Kishtwar district. Its installed capacity is 520 mw and is estimated to cost Rs 3386.11 crores.
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