NC, PDP exchange verbal tirade
Srinagar, June 8: Following revelations on handing over of Salal power project to National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) by JK government superseding a state cabinet order dating back to 1975, arch political rivals - ruling National Conference and opposition Peoples Democratic Party – are training guns on each other over the exploitation of the state’s water resources.
“History of NC’s betrayals and sell-outs cannot be erased or changed by spin-doctoring the facts on the sad story of J&K losing whatever it had by way of natural resources. First the rights over the rivers flowing through the state were signed away and then NHPC was handed over more than a dozen most feasible power projects,” former deputy chief minister and senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig said while addressing newly elected Panchs and Sarpanchs at a function in Sheeri area of district Baramulla Tuesday.
Levelling counter-charges against PDP, NC said; “Mufti Muhammad Sayeed (PDP patron) should remember when Indus Water Treaty was signed between India and Pakistan (giving exclusive rights to Pakistan over three rivers originating from J&K) the entire NC leadership was behind bars. Mufti Sahab was one of those who were ruling the state,” senior NC leader Sharief-ud-Din Shariq said.
The 690 MW Salal produces around 3,300 million units of energy annually out of which JK is getting 400 million units (12 percent) as royalty while the state is purchasing another 750 million units (23 percent) annually from the project at generation cost.
Greater Kashmir had earlier exclusively reported that as per the cabinet decision no. 128 of June 21, 1975, on Salal, Jammu and Kashmir was entitled to 50 percent of power generated from the project besides 50 percent share on the returns over selling of remaining power by NHPC. The ownership of the project was to be reverted to the state government after a suitable period on payment of depreciated cost. However the order was never implemented.
As reported by this newspaper, state government had vide cabinet decision No. 537 dated: 12.12.1980 “obligingly” conformed to the terms and conditions “dictated” by the Union Power Ministry on allotment of power projects to NHPC overriding the terms and conditions enumerated in the cabinet decision no. 128 of June 1975.
The documents in possession of Greater Kashmir reveal that while allocating Dulhasti project, “drastic” modifications to the 1975 cabinet order followed objections by Union Energy Ministry (as it was then called) at a meeting convened by its Joint Secretary PM Belliappa, with the state government officials on July 25, 1979.
Rejecting almost all the conditions stipulated by the state government in the cabinet decision no. No 128 of June 21, 1975 (in case of Salal), the Union Ministry of Energy while turning down the same for Dulhasti had categorically conveyed to the state government that “the Government of India will not be able to agree to the same terms as are applicable in the case of Salal project and won’t agree to profit-sharing clause as well.”
The documents go on to add that without challenging the “dictates” of the Union Energy Ministry the then state chief minister had “assured the then Union Power Minister that the requisite legislative measures and cabinet sanction will be processed expeditiously in the matter.”
However, senior Congress leader and Minister for Irrigation Taj Mohi-ud-Din revealed on Sunday that the cabinet order was changed in 1985 by the then state government.
The accusations by Baig had followed a statement by Mubarak Gul advisor to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday saying the revelation that the state’s rights over the Salal power project were surrendered in 1985 was an eye-opener.
“Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who has been blaming National Conference for the trade-off of the water resources need to explain his conduct. In 1985 the state was ruled by GM Shah of the Awami National Conference and supported by the Congress, whose president was Mufti Sayeed,” alleged Gul who is a senior National Conference leader.
Countering Gul on Tuesday Baig said: “Seven power projects were given away to NHPC in 2002 even without the formality of signing a MoU by the then NC government. Three more power projects were handed over by the present government. The present government has presided over the worst phase of state’s disempowerment in the shape of power projects, downgrading of J&K Bank and denial of freedom of peaceful protests,” he said.
Shariq toady said during his tenure from 1996 to 2002, Dr Farooq Abdullah “tried his best” to benefit from state’s water resources but had to limit his plans to 450 MW Baghliar-I power projects only to due to state’s financial constraints.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 8 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 8 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 9 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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