J&K would be reluctant to award projects if NHPC fails to re-look conditions: CM

* Calls for review of Central Power Sharing formula
Mohinder Verma
SRINAGAR, June 11: Terming imposition of water utilization charges on power generation companies as a right decision of his Government, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah today said that he would like the NHPC to re-look its terms and conditions regarding the implementation of hydro-electric projects by taking a leaf from the agreement the State has entered with the private power company vis-à-vis construction of Rattle Hydroelectric Project.
Addressing the 7th International Hydel Power Convention at SKICC here, Mr Omar said, “turnaround in finance generation in a State like Jammu and Kashmir straightly depends on water resources as such the imposition of water utilization charges on power companies is right decision of my Government”.
“I would like the NHPC to re-look its terms and conditions regarding the implementation of hydro electric projects otherwise State would be reluctant to award future projects to NHPC”, he asserted and said that Jammu and Kashmir would like to own the power projects constructed by power companies in the State after the fixed period of time and get substantial share of electricity generated from these projects. He said the State Government would also like to factor in the livelihood earning capacities of the locals, who are affected by these projects.
Underlining the power potential as the most precious resource for income-deficit Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Minister emphasized the need for leveraging this resource for overall economic development of the State. He said his Government has been persistently making a demand for review of the Central Power Sharing formula and larger devolution of benefits to the resource bearing States.
“This issue has come up into focus after the revised 850 MW Rattle project was allotted. The project has to provide 16 percent free power to the State and 55 percent power at the levelized tariff of Rs 1.44 per unit. The ownership of the project will revert to the State. This is all the more important in the context of Indus Water Treaty, which has put the State in a disadvantageous position”, he said and expressed the hope that Central Government will move forward in a big way to address the concerns of the State and provide assistance for the development of the power sector.
Stating that Jammu and Kashmir would utilize the platform of International Hydel Power Convention gainfully to harness water resource optimally for the sustained development, he said that Jammu and Kashmir possesses enormous hydel potential of about 20,000 MWs, of which only 2,458 MWs are presently harnessed.
He said his Government has focused larger attention to fill up this gap and tap potential within the shortest possible time. “The State Government has recently announced series of policy reforms and initiatives in this regard along with notifying Jammu and Kashmir Hydro Projects Development Policy-2011 to implement projects ranging from 2-100 MWs capacity to make it investor friendly”, he added.
“To cut short the long gestation period which is discouraging sector for private investors, the State Government has initiated several measures and facilities for the quick development of projects”, he said, adding that single window clearance system through a Committee headed by the Chief Secretary has been put in place besides other institutionalized mechanism for fast tracking the implementation of the projects. He said 10 projects with an aggregate capacity of 172 MWs have been advertised and the response is encouraging.
The Chief Minister said that to mobilize a huge investment of over Rs 2 lakh crore to harness the hydro electric potential of the State is not possible for the Government alone but required active participation of private players and financial institutions. He said to move forward on this path a multi-pronged strategy has been approved for setting up projects as State owned ones, through joint venture mechanism, PPP mode and on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis.
Omar Abdullah said that under this strategy a roadmap has been drawn up for generating around 800 MWs of hydel power in the State during next two plans. He said 15 projects of the capacity of about 2034 MWs including three in State sector, four in Centre sector and eight in private sector have been allotted and are under execution in full swing. He said more 30 projects with a capacity of 6,647 MWs have been planned for execution. “These include 8 projects in the State sector, one in Centre sector, 3 as joint ventures and 18 in the private sector”, he added.
The Chief Minister said that 5 State owned projects of about 200 MW capacity and one joint venture project with 1000 MW capacity have been tendered out and are expected to be awarded shortly. He said the flagship projects in the State sector namely 1856 MW Sawlakote and 990 MW Karthai-II are in the process of seeking TEC and CEA. He said to enhance the power generation capacity and to push the approach of partnership in harnessing the potential, 2120 MW Pakaldul, Kiru and Kawar projects are being executed in joint venture with NHPC and PTC. He said 1000 MW Pakaldul has been already tendered out.
Omar Abdullah said that that the reforms process in the power sector has already been set in motion and J&K Energy Conservation Act 2011 has been enacted. He said the process of unbundling of the power sector has been carried forward with creation of separate State Transmission and Distribution utility and power sector reforms in all major towns have been initiated which are also being extended to smaller towns. He said transmission capacities at high voltage level are under augmentation to remove system constraints.
On power evacuation system, Omar Abdullah underlined the need for developing a comprehensive and integrated transmission network instead of laying individual dedicated lines. He said that the State has proposed a Pooling Station of 765 KV in Chenab basin level so that upcoming projects can conveniently evacuate power. He also emphasized the need for early installation of Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Transmission Line to harness and evacuate about 2000 MWs of power from this region.
The Chief Minister also advocated modification in the MoP notification of 2006 by Government of India and said that the projects up to 100 MW capacity should not require the TEC from CEA and be left to the State agencies. He also talked about the financial closure of the projects and called for easy access to affordable credit for timely execution of the projects.
Omar Abdullah also underscored the need for North-north cooperation in managing natural resources judiciously and optimally and preserving these for present and future generations. He said the convention on the hydro sector by Himalayan States including Jammu and Kashmir should serve a step forward towards this cooperation. He called for evolving a framework to deal with specific issues and particular requirements of the Himalayan States and emphasized on joining of hands by private sector, State Governments and Central Government alongwith research institutions for environment friendly sustainable and economically rewarding approach towards development of hydro sector.
The convention was also addressed by Minister of State for Power, Shabir Ahmad Khan, who presented complete scenario of present power status of Jammu and Kashmir and gave details of the futuristic plans to make Jammu and Kashmir power surplus State.
Meanwhile, while chairing a panel discussion on need for unified policy between Ministry of Power and Ministry of Environment during the convention, Union Power Secretary, D Vijai Singh said, “India will supply 500 megawatts of electricity to Pakistan for which the transmission lines are being laid”.
“Pakistan has asked us for power, so we have decided to supply 500 megawatts to them immediately. We have power and they are in need. They asked us politely, we said sure. We said we will make transmission lines and you pay us international rates,” Singh said.
He said India and Pakistan were cooperating on sharing electricity. “(But) water gets a bit emotional issue”, he added
He said construction of new hydro power projects was facing clearance issues from Union Environment Ministry and also resistance from Pakistani Government. “It is not only the Ministry of Environment and Forests which is concerned, Pakistan has raised objections and asked India to stop (constructing hydro power projects),” he added.
Singh said Government of Pakistan is going to take India to the Court of Arbitration on “every single dam” that is coming up in Jammu and Kashmir. “They have also raised objections on Nimoo-Bazgoo project (in Ladakh), though grounds are different. These are more of political issues,” he added.
He said, “Pakistan is raising the issue that no dam can be constructed in Kashmir, which in “anyway” will affect their future.
About the Kishenganga hydro power project, Singh said Pakistan has raised issues about their environment, tourism and fishing being affected by the project. “We have a treaty (Indus Water) where no one seems satisfied,” Singh said.
The Convention on “Harnessing Hydro Power in Northern Himalaya-Challenges and Opportunities”, with special focus on Jammu and Kashmir was also attended by Chairman and Managing Director NHPC Ltd A B L Srivastava, Principal Secretary Power Development Department, Sudhanshu Panday, Managing Director JKSPDC, Basharat Ahmed Dhar, Director UJVN Ltd, Sandeep Sanghal besides President India Tech Foundation, Indra Mohan, General Secretary India Tech Foundation, Ashish Gupta.
The speakers deliberated on the topic and matters like obtaining approval from CEA for power projects DPRs, awarding and management of Hydro Power Projects, understanding the concern of private sector- risk and responsibility sharing by State Government.
They also dwelt on the need for a separate tariff policy for purchase of power from hydro power projects and through tariff based competitive bidding process. They emphasized the need for an IPP Charter for Policies and Regulations for accelerated development of Hydro Power and CSR issues and solutions including responsibilities of the Local Bodies (administration) over the implementation of the projects.