By Haroon Reshi
Srinagar: Civil society group KCSDS said on Friday that it will organise a round-table conference next week to discuss the issue of “economic exploitation” of J&K by India’s public sector power giant NHPC, a day after an RTI query revealed that the corporation had earned about 3 billion dollars off the state’s power projects since 2001.
“The state government needs to be pressurised into wresting these power projects back from the NHPC,” said Prof Hameeda Nayeem, chairperson of the Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies.
Seven power projects in J&K—Salal, Uri-I, Dulhasti, Sewa-II, Uri-II, Chutak and Nimmo Bazgo—are owned by the NHPC. They generate about 2009 MW of electricity annually, which is about one thirds of the total power generated by the NHPC.
JK pays about Rs 4,000 annually to buy hydro power, which is partly generated from its own waters. Earnings of Rs 19,431 crore revealed by the NHPC appear to be a half truth. The corporation should tell how it has billed the state over the years and the profit it has earned.
NHPC has grown immensely. From an initial Rs 200 crore in 1975, its investment base grew to Rs 38,718 crore in 2010. In 2009-2010, NHPC made a profit of Rs 2,090 crore, an increase of 94% over the previous year’s profit of 1,050 crore, which even global corporate giants have not been able to achieve.
Information accessed by J&K Right to Information Movement has revealed that the NHPC has generated
1,15,636 million units of power from these projects from 2001 to March 2016, earning Rs 19,431 crore during this period.
“NHPC has been holding these power projects illegally and unconstitutionally. There is not even a single legitimate document suggesting that it has any legal right to hold these power projects,” said Shakeel Qalander, former president Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) and KCSDS member told Kashmir Reader.
“We will strengthen out movement to get back the state property from the clutches of NHPC. We have very strong argument and the legal bases to demand our assets back,” he added.
However, Qalander does not favour fighting a legal battle against the NHPC, saying “litigations suit the NHPC because there are more than 350 cases pending against it across the India for last several decades”.
“None of them has been decided so far. If we will file a case against the NHPC’s economic exploitation, it will be just one more case against them. Rather than a lawsuit we should compel the state government to take steps for the recovery of these power projects.”