In an open letter to Prime Minister, traders’ bodies raise state’s energy issues
On the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir, premier business and industrial bodies of Kashmir have urged him to dedicate to the people of the state the Uri II project to be inaugurated by him on Friday. The traders’ bodies and chambers have also urged the Prime Minister to announce return all NHPC-run power projects in the state to Jammu and Kashmir.
In an open letter to the PM, the Valley’s premier business and industrial bodies namely Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers’ Federation apprize him that “J&K is suffering for non-transfer of power projects being run by NHPC in the state.”
“The Kashmir Valley,” the letter, a copy of which is with Greater Kashmir, reads: “in particular is fast going back to medieval period with no hope for economic self-sufficiency and development.”
The letter particularly seeks to draw the attention of the PM to the following points:
“As per Task Force constituted by the then Prime Minister headed by Dr C Rangarajan, the report of which was submitted in November, 2006 has recommended transfer of Salal Hydro Power Project to J&K State.”
“Later, the Group of Interlocutors for J&K appointed by GoI in their final report endorsed the recommendation of Rangarajan Committee for transfer of Dulhasti Hydel Project from NHPC to State Government. It also recommended to the central government to not only compensate the state by meeting equity capital needs of all its Hydel project to be taken in the State Sector over and above the State’s plan outlays, but also to enhance the State’s share of Power from the NHPC-run Hydel project from existing 12% to, say, 30% and gradually raise it to 100% in the next 5 years, as a special case. Thus, the power generation under the Central sector should be transferred to the State. Besides, the State is extended adequate funds to exploit water resources. This alone can make the economy self- reliant.”
The letter mentions that the Task Force had analyzed two aspects: a) Compensation to NHPC which was fixed at 875 crores as the estimated fair value of the project in the year 2006; and b) The existing beneficiary States which will need to be compensated for loss suffered on account of purchase of power at higher rates which was estimated to 2862 crores.
“This was based on argument by J&K to compensate Indus Water Treaty losses and was suggested by the Task Force to be compensated through Central Assistance,” the letter reads.
The letter mentions that green revolution in Punjab was possible only due to lopsided agreement, Indus Water Treaty, at the cost of J&K.
“The Traders’ Organizations have been demanding return of not only Salal but Dulhasti as well as Uri projects back to the J&K State,” it said.
“The Traders’ Organizations even opposed the discriminatory Joint Venture (Chenab Valley Power Development Corporation) which has not taken care of the interests of J&K State where it has not even a clause for transfer of these projects to State after a period which is applicable for even private sector projects in the Power Sector under the Scheme of BOOT Agreement.”
“The Traders’ Organizations had demanded that the then Prime Minister’s Package of Rs 24000 crores out of which 18000 crores was meant for Power Projects but unfortunately given to Central Agency (NHPC) for implementation. Although Traders’ Organizations had demanded 18000 crores to be given to State for taking care of equity in all the projects for taping 20000 MWZ Hydro Electric Power Potential in State.”
“Even a Senior Cabinet Minister of J&K Government has publically admitted that the Agreements between NHPC and State Government are missing from the records of the State as such the NHPC is illegally operating all the projects in our State,” the letter reads.
The chambers and business bodies have raised following demands in the letter: “To initiate the process of return of all projects set up by Central Agency NHPC which have already paid back their capital with the residual price as calculated by Dr. C. Rangarajan in case of Salal to the tune of Rs.860 crores in 2006 and accordingly calculated for other projects, Uri and Dulhasti, as an interim compensation for Indus Water Treaty to be compensated through Central assistance.”
“We want that all the recommendations made by different commissions appointed by Central Government from time to time in regard to augmentation of State resources by way of transfer of Power projects operated by NHPC be implemented in letter and spirit,” it said.