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Published On:01 August 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Kashmir Civil society gears against NHPC

‘State looses Rs 1400 crore annually to power company’


By Bashir Assad


Srinagar: Moving forward to make National Hydro Power Corporation more accountable about its operations and revenue sharing mechanism in Jammu and Kashmir, a civil society group Sunday said it will work on the directions High Court has given, before approaching the bench again.


NHPC is facing a lot criticism from all quarters of Kashmir that includes the elite politicians, and is now often termed as, ‘New East India Company’ for its alleged exploitation of State’s water resources.


On 28th of July a civil society group headed by Shakeel Kalander former president of FCIK filed a Public Interest Litigation demanding handing over of Salal Power Project and the legalities of the contracts signed between the State and the company.


“There is this notion that Centre invests huge money in Kashmir and yet we are thankless, but in reality every year we lose over Rs 1400 Cr to NHPC as they are not abiding the contracts signed with State,” said Basheer Asad a prominent civil society worker.


According Assad, in 2004, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh granted an additional Rs 18000 Cr for power sector in the State under Prime Minister’s Economic Reconstruction Program, but money never reached the State exchequer, instead all of it was deposited in the NHPC account. “At least if you are not giving us money, but for God sake, let the world know about it as well; don’t demean Kashmiri society,” Asad said as he asked New Delhi to open true figures about the water treaties and the ill effects it is having on the Jammu and Kashmir’s economy.


Kashmir currently buys electricity worth Rs 3000 Cr from Power Trade Corporation annually and according to Kalander there are certain projects which according to 1985 agreement between the State and NHPC should be handed over to government.


“The partnership with NHPC has been not fruitful to the State. We been losing thousands of crores of money as revenue,” said Kalander. “Projects that were supposed to be completed in five years, have taken twenty five years to get started.”


Civil society is demanding the compensation from NHPC to State for the delay of various projects. According to Khalander when State first signed power generation project agreements with the Union Power Ministry before the creation of NHPC, Kashmir was entitled to receive 50 percent of the power from the projects and half of the profits. “Now we just get 12 percent of power and NHPC is also claiming the rights on the projects, which is just illegal and unacceptable,” said Kalader who says that in a bizarre case all the documents relating to 1975 power agreement are missing from State archives, Secretariat records and Raj Bhavan.
“Even if we go by 1985 agreement, NHPC still has no right on the land and the projects which have served the scheduled agreement and they have to return them to State,” Kalander said as he asked NHPC to provide lease agreements or any other proof which will make company’s right to the projects as legal.


The movement against NHPC in Kashmir has seen a boost after State Legislative Assembly passed the Water Bill in 2010, making ever company payable for using the raw material from Kashmir. “After the 2010 Water Bill, NHPC’s control on most of the hydal projects is illegal,” said Asad who praised the State government for making a “landmark” law to stop the exploitation of the State resources. “They have been active, but they need to be serious and make things work,” said Asad as his group warned the State not to sign new dubious agreements with NHPC.


“They are planning to sign another weird contract with NHPC regarding the 2100 MW of power generation from Tangduri and other places, but terms are unjustified,” said Kalander as he described the new agreement with the State owned Power Company. According to Kalader in the new agreement there is a clause that if the State fails to deposit the equity, NHPC will take its 50 percent share and projects will be delivered on the previous set of agreements. “If they go with this set of agreement it will be suicidal and we will not be quite.”


[Bashir Assad is a senior Journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. He is now Bureau Chief (J&K) of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be contacted at bashirassad@rediffmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on August 01, 2011. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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