The demand to transfer power projects owned by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to Jammu and Kashmir has become stronger after the NHPC has revealed that from 2001-2015, it earned Rs 194 billion from the sale of power generated from different power projects in Jammu and Kashmir. The information was revealed in response to an RTI application filed by a Delhi-based NGO. At present, the state has to spend around Rs 3,000 crore on the purchase of power from NHPC and getting back the power projects would help the state’s economy.
Before taking oath as J&K Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti had got verbal assurances from her coalition partner BJP that two projects would be given back to the state government.
She was also “assured” that the royalties earned by the state from NHPC would be revised. If the rates of royalty are revised, the state will receive huge profits as NHPC runs seven hydro-electric power projects in Jammu and Kashmir at present.
Informed sources told The Sunday Guardian that after Mehbooba Mufti took over as CM, she held a meeting with state Power Minister Nirmal Singh to look into the modalities of how to get back the 390 MW Dulhasti power project in Kishtiwar and 480 MW Uri hydro power project in Kashmir.
Former Congress minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din, who imposed a water cess on the use of water by NHPC in J&K had earlier told this newspaper that when he had tried to boost the economy of the state, he was removed as Irrigation and Flood Control Minister by a “powerful lobby” in the NHPC and claimed that former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram was instrumental in his removal. He said that because of the water cess, the state has earned about Rs 40,000 crore from NHPC and Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation and said that they should utilise the money to buy back these power projects.