SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) has expressed its dismay and shocked over the chief minster’s statement with regard to transfer of power projects from NHPC to the state control and management.
KCCI, in a statement Tuesday, said recovery of power projects the NHPC is holding at the cost of progress, prosperity and right to economic development of the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be ensured.
“Every conscious citizen of the state asks if irresoluteness on the part of the CM should mean surrendering the state’s right to utilization of its resources,” the president of KCCI, Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad said. “The KCC&I suggest that instead of retreating on its claims for the power projects under NHPC, a unanimous resolution be passed and adopted in the on going Legislative Assembly session for the return of the power projects from the NHPC.”
He said, KCCI feels it necessary to respond to the manner and style in which the information sought with regard to consumption of power in Kashmir and Jammu regions of the state has been provided in the State Assembly’s current session by the PDD. To the common understanding it appears that the issue related to the power consumption and revenue return for the same is being regionalized with political motive underlying, he added.
“The KCCI calls for it being appreciated by all concerned that Jammu and Kashmir are two parts of one solid unit the Jammu and Kashmir State for ages immemorial and its people have equal right to its resources with responsibility to protect and preserve them for its future economic development,” Ahmad said.
“While the distribution and consumption of power at regional level is subject to rationalization, the basic and primary issue is how much power is generated in the state both by the state and central agencies using our water resources and how much against the same is available to the people of the state.”
It is an established fact that out of the huge potential for hydro electric power generation in the state a major chunk has been exploited by the NHPC at Salal, Uri, Dulhasti and elsewhere in the state. It is also a fact that a paltry percentage of the power generated through the projects under NHPC and is erratically provided to the state. Bound by ambiguous agreements on this account the state has not been able to claim a larger share thus leaving the people of Kashmir craving for the benefit that would have accrued from the state owned resources to trickle down to them as their legitimate right, the statement said.
KCCI have been repeatedly calling attention and urging the government of Jammu and Kashmir from time to time to invest its efforts in right direction for getting the Salal, Uri and Dulhasti and also other such hydroelectric power projects established with the support of NHPC in Jammu and Kashmir transferred to the J&K state control now as the NHPC have already earned returns more than they deserve on their investments on these projects. The KCCI have in the past taken up the issue with the Prime Minister of India through open letters and memorandums submitted to him in person at Delhi and latest on his visit to Kashmir in 2013. The NHPC is claiming propriety of the power projects on the basis of some agreements drawn between them and the J&K state and is not therefore inclined to transfer these projects to the state .The Central Government has not so far shown its interest in putting its weight against the NHPC claims in larger public interest. At KCC&I it is felt that the way the NHPC is behaving in regard to settlement and transfer of the power projects to the J&K state is illogical and intriguing; more so in the light of the fact that the NHPC has utilized the central funds that came for the purpose essentially in the name of the state . The KCC&I strongly argues so as it suggests to recall the Rs. 24000 crore package of Prime Minister of India extended to the state for its economic development in November 2004. Rs. 18000 crores of the package were directly diverted to the NHPC for power generation. Despite having received and utilized such a huge sum of money for and on the state account NHPC does not bulge from its stand of claiming ownership right to the power projects established in the state. The President , KCC&I Shiekh Ashiq Ahmad has reiterated the demand for immediate transfer of the NHPC handled projects in Jammu and Kashmir to the State control to allow the state utilized its resources for the economic development and prosperity of its people. He urges the state and central government to take positive steps in this direction without giving way to any confusion or unrest among the people of the state.