JAMMU: Finance Minister Haseeb A Drabu did not present the power sector budget this year, saying that the sector had destroyed the finances of the state.
“I separately presented power budget in last three years for correction in the system,” he told the press conference after he presented his fourth budget in the J&K Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
However, he was all praise for the J&K State Power Development Corporation (PDC), expecting it to compete with J&K Bank in the coming two years.
“I separated it from main budget, and the system got corrected,” he said. “There was huge deficit because of this sector… the money I gave it in last three (years) is more than what was allotted to it in last five years. There are operational issues, but it has got huge money under PMDP (the Prime Minister’s Development Package),” he said
He, however, said that there is a good opportunity for the state government in renewable energy. “We are looking into this sector.”
Drabu told the presser that the state government has 28 public sector companies, of which “only two are making profit”.
“PDC is growing and will be competing in next two years with J&K Bank,” Drabu told the Assembly during the Budget speech.
Currently headed by Dr Shah Faesal, the PDC is a 100 percent state-owned public sector enterprise with a net worth of Rs 11,000 crore. It is engaged in the development of power generation infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Commissioner Secretary, Finance, Navin Choudhary, told Kashmir Reader, “If everything goes according to the plan, God willing, PDC will be a Rs 20,000 crore company in just two years.”
Currently, the PDC owns 22 small and big power projects in the state with a total capacity of 1,212 MW. “All of them are operational,” a PDC engineer told this newspaper. “PDC registered a net profit of Rs 267 crore in the 2016-17 financial year.”
“Four new projects are coming up with a capacity of 103.5 MW,” he added. “They will be completed within two financial years.”
The engineer said that the PDC has a target of adding 6,000 MW more of electricity to J&K’s power kitty. “This includes development of power projects by Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Limited (CVPPPL).”
The engineer revealed that the PDC will be venturing into the solar power sector in the state. “In 2018, PDC shall begin with developing 20 MW solar power in Leh,” he said.
“We initiated the process of financial engineering in public enterprises.
J&KSPDC, for instance, has made considerable progress towards the financial engineering and their balance sheet at the end of the year will show that the corporation is a debt free company,” Drabu said in his budget document.