Ratle Power Project in Joint Venture

The prestigious run-of -river hydroelectric power project built on the Chenab River in Kishtwar district of the UT, the construction of which was started in the year 2013 entered into a decisive phase by way of the proposal for its development in Joint Venture Mode by NHPC and JKSPDC having been accepted by the Administrative Council. Since there were certain humps in the beginning of the work on this project, the recent decision was surely going to clear the decks for the start of work on it and now, without any ado. Since lot of time, otherwise gets expended in completion of paper work and clearances and permissions from different departments and agencies, the same being reported to be there in place complete in all respect, has generated hopes that the project will be completed within a span of just 36 months.
The go ahead and formation of the Joint Venture -executed by a new Joint Venture Company – Jammu Hydroelectric Power Corporation to be formed between the JK Power Development Corporation (JKPDC) and the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), the project was expected , now , to have smooth sailing to be a major contributor towards development of and a financial benefit to the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. The UT shall witness and feel a shift from power importing to power selling as also creating ample employment opportunities and ancillary developmental benefits likely to sprout from the project which had the distinction of being the biggest power producing project in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir on completion .
The above development follows on account of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha issuing on the spot directions for completion of ongoing projects including the Ratle power project , calling for better synergy between different agencies for making Jammu and Kashmir a power surplus region in the country. Administrative Council according approval for the above project to be built under a Joint Venture, can be seen in that context also. Unless bottlenecksand avoidable impediments were overcome , neither projects could be completed in time nor their efficacy felt in terms of utility factor for the people. Finance and allied issues are expected to be taken well care of which should still be properly ensured in case the timeline of 36 months of its completion is to be made a possibility. Government of India providing grants to the tune of Rs.776crore is likely to be used as equity contribution of JKPDC . On the other hand , indirect financial support to the project like exemption of the UT’s share of free power 12percent from the project has been approved but in decremented order , share of free power to be restored to the normal quota of 12percentfrom the 12th year onwards etc are a few other steps proposed to make the project viable. Not only that, approval of waiver of water usage charges for the project for a period of 10 years from the first year of commercial operations as well as reimbursement of SGST by the UT Government for all supplies to the project, would further result in the financial strength and a cushion to the project.
Differences on certain vital points had erupted in respect of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2019 between the parties to the project which with certain amends and modifications too, stand approved by the Administrative Council. Execution of the project in JV mode as persistently stressed upon by the UT Government stands finally approved by the Public Investment Board and the project would, as such, be completed under the JV mode only. If the full potential of hydro power capacity of Jammu and Kashmir estimated at 20000 MW was explored and harnessed , the UT would become a power producing hub of Northern India . Since only 16000 MW is identified, 850 MW of Ratleproject will ensure generating of additional 3000 MW which would to a larger extent, supplement the demand and supply position of the UT in addition to giving a boost to the economy.