Kashmir Government To Buy Back Power Projects From NHPC8 December 2011
Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government has finally decided to buy back its Hydro Electric Power Projects from Nation Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to meet its ever increasing energy demand. The Cabinet Subcommittee (CSC) of J&K government on power has adopted a report which will be submitted to the cabinet for consideration by or before December 23, 2011. CSC which met here today under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Ab. Rahim Rather decided to furnish its report to the cabinet by 23rd of this month. Sources said that the interesting thing to note was that all the members of the committee were on the same page as for the adoption of report is concerned. It was, however, learnt through reliable sources that CSC in its yet to be drafted report will recommend that the cabinet order of Jun 1975 which was missing from the records but somehow reproduced in another cabinet order of 1980s, shall form the principal stand of the government and shall provide the basis for return of Salal HEP project to the state. CSC, sources said will recommend buying back of Uri-I HEP on depreciated cost which stands at about 21 hundred crores by now. Sources said that members of the committee which include PHE and Irrigation Minister Taj Mohiuddin, inister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Sagar and Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jore have agreed to put its claim for 70 crores per annum being paid to NHPC extra for the power which the state actually does not receive for last ten years or so. Confirming that CSC has decided to furnish its report to the cabinet by December 23, Minister for PHE Taj Mohiuddin told this correspondent the CSC that the committee will come up with concrete suggestion very soon which would certainly decide the future of at least two power projects Uri-I and Salal. “Chief Minister has publicly intended to buy back Salal and Uri-I power projects from NHPC and as such the committee has decided to furnish its report on the same lines” Taj said. However, CSC was silent on what should be the future course of action against NHPC for not obtaining license under J&K Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Act, 2010 by virtue of which it was obligatory for NHPC to obtain License for usage of waters after fulfilling all the requirements which include Agreement, MoU, Land Lease Agreement etc. It merits a mention here that in terms of Section 94 of the Water Resources (Regulation & Management ) Act as enforced on 01-11-2010, no user is entitled to install a unit requiring usage of water without obtaining a Licence under Section 97 of the Act . It is also relevant to submit that by virtue of Rule 51 any existing user who is required to apply for and obtain a Licence under rule 50 is mandatorily required to apply to the Licensing Authority within six months from the date of commencement of the Act for issuance of a Licence and to complete all the formalities in this behalf , as provided under rules . The rules as well provide for the steps to be taken by the Licensing Authority in the event of failure of a user to obtain Licence .The power available with the Licensing Authority are indicated in the Rule 50 ,53,54 etc of the Rules . However, despite of the expiry of the Statutory period of six months from the date of enforcement of the Act , NHPC has failed to obtain the Licence from the Licensing Authority and is nevertheless using the water resources of the State of Jammu & Kashmir unauthorised and in total disregard and violation of the mandatory provisions of the Act and the rules framed there under , more particularly so when admittedly on the basis of the information conveyed to a civil society group, both by the State Government and NHPC , there has been absolutely no Memorandum of Understanding -Agreement ever entered into between the State Government and Govt. Of India-NHPC regarding any authorization for perpetual use of the water resources of the State by NHPC -Govt. Of India. Legal experts believe that the failure on the part of the State Government -Licensing Authority to take recourse to the relevant provisions of the Act -Rules is as well illegal and against the public interest of the people of State of J & K Significantly the civil society group spearheading the campaign for return of power projects to the state has on November filed “Demand of Justice” before the government asking inform as to what action the State Government is contemplating to be initiated against NHPC , taking into consideration absence of any authorization -agreement-MOU or Licence it has asked the government to convey the reply within two weeks.