Announced nearly 6 years back, J&K’s first Wind Energy Project still on papers

Govt fails to seek intervention of Union Power Ministry

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 27: J&K’s first ever Wind Energy Project, which was announced nearly six years back, has remained on papers despite fixing of numerous timelines for start of work as Government has failed to resolve the land transfer issue with the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). Even no seriousness has been shown to seek the intervention of Union Ministry of Power so as to pave the way for tapping the potential.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in the year 2012 National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) situated at Chennai started survey in Jammu and Kashmir to ascertain wind energy potential. Accordingly, Wind Masts were installed at various locations throughout the State by NIWE for assessment of wind power potential.
However, only one site was found feasible for development of Wind Power Project—at village Bidda in Reasi district. During the course of assessment, it emerged that the site has a potential of 8 Mega Watts to 10 Mega Watts of wind power that could be tapped using appropriate technology.
In the first phase, it was decided that Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) would develop 6 MW Wind Power Project on pilot basis under the Wind Demonstration Scheme of Union Government. Even land measuring 534 kanals and six marlas was identified for the Wind Energy Project.
Thereafter, the entire exercise came to the standstill as the land identified for the first ever Wind Energy Project of J&K was leased out to National Hydroelectric Power Corporation at the time of construction of Salal Hydro Power Project in Reasi and its transfer to Science and Technology Department was imperative for the execution of the project, sources said.
Though the State Government approached the NHPC a number of times for transfer of land to Science and Technology Department yet the efforts failed to yield any fruitful result because of reluctance on the part of former, they said, adding about one year back the NHPC simply prepared a case for alienation of land and forwarded the same to the Union Ministry of Power for approval but till date the Union Ministry has not taken any decision as there was no follow-up either from the NHPC or from the State Government.
Despite being aware of the fact that NHPC was reluctant to transfer the land, the Government issued official statements from time to time fixing different dates for start of work on the Wind Energy Project.
This can be gauged from the fact that during the Budget Session of 2017-18, the Government had on the floor of Legislative Assembly stated that work on Wind Energy Project at Bidda will begin during 2017-18 financial year at a cost of Rs 46 crore. It was also mentioned that JAKEDA had made all the arrangements to exploit the available potential with the financial support from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Actually, there was no commitment of financial assistance from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy especially when the land was not in the possession of Science and Technology Department, sources said while disclosing that keeping in view the resource constraints it was decided that the project will be executed on Independent Power Producer (IPP) Mode.
Accusing the present dispensation of adopting absolute non-seriousness towards the first ever Wind Energy Project, they said, “during the past three years the Ministers as well as concerned bureaucrats of J&K Government had a number of meetings in the Union Power Ministry but the issue of reluctance of NHPC to transfer the land was never vociferously taken up”, adding “had seriousness been shown the impediment in the execution of project would have been easily removed”.
In response to a question, sources ruled out identification of alternate site for the project and said, “the particular area in Bidda has the potential for Wind Energy Project and transfer of land by the NHPC is the only way out”, adding “as the fate of the project is hanging in balance during the past nearly six years the Government should show some sort of seriousness and take up the matter with the Union Ministry of Power for transfer of land, which was leased out to NHPC at the time of execution of Salal Power Project”.