Official panel in search of ‘evidence’ on Salal power project

Committee Seeks Information On Pact from Government Of India

Return of Power Projects

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Dec 18: What could give a setback to the return of power projects from the power giant National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC), the Legal Committee formed to prepare “course of action” for seeking back the projects has observed that some crucial documents about Salal power project were missing from the Cabinet Sub-Committee report.
 The committee headed by Advocate General Muhammad Ishaq Qadri has directed the Power Development Department (PDD) to issue a letter to Government of India to seek details and documentary evidence on Salal.
 Sources said the revelation that no concrete evidence was available regarding Salal project has come to fore in the fourth meeting of the Legal Committee held in Jammu on December 15.
 A member of the committee, wishing anonymity, said though there was enough evidence on documents pertaining to Uri-I project, there is “little evidence on Salal”, leading to delay in submission of report by the Committee.
 “There is confusion on how Salal pact was inked and what were the terms and conditions then. We have studied the CSC report approved by the State Cabinet and are working hard to finalise the legal opinion on the issue,” the member said.
 He said after discussing the issue threadbare, the Legal Committee has written two letters to the PDD directing it to send a letter to the Government of India to seek documentary evidence (if any) with regard to the Salal project. “We have been given a mandate to finalise legal opinion as to how the J&K government can proceed on reclaiming Uri-I and Salal power projects from the NHPC,” the member said.
 Another member said the PDD has so far written two letters to the Government of India after discussing the same with the Committee members. “The PDD has sought documentary evidence on the Salal agreement. In the CSC report, we found many letters written by the then Chief Minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to New Delhi seeking raise in power share. But as far as Salal is concerned, we couldn’t find any concrete document that would clear terms and conditions between Centre and the State,” he said. “The letters sent to Government of India have not been responded so far. This certainly will result in further delay in framing the final recommendations.”
 He said the CSC report was full of technicalities and the Committee was trying its best to find a suitable path on how to get back power projects. “Once we finalise our recommendations, we have to approach Government of India and not the NHPC,” the member said.
 The Minister for PHE and Irrigation, Taj Mohiudin, admitted that there was no direct evidence about Salal project but he had “managed” to retrieve an old cabinet order which mentioned Salal. “I did my job. The CSC report has already been approved by the State Cabinet. The report has strongly advocated return of Uri-I and Salal, but we had no mechanism to proceed. So we formed the Legal Committee that would suggest how to approach the NHPC and Government of India legally,” Taj told Greater Kashmir. He said the government can’t do anything until LC submits its final report.
 Sources said the LC members were of the opinion that either the case would end up in the court of law or some neutral arbitrator has to be appointed to sort out the issue. “NHPC has already made it clear to the PHE Minister that it was just an executing agency appointed by the Government of India. The matter is destined to end up in court,” sources said. 

Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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