The power imbalance
This way we can't have a justice-based economic growth
It’s curious that on one hand, the chief minister has stated that the priority of the government is the return of the NHPC power projects to the Jammu & Kashmir government. Yet, on the other hand (or should I say on the “underhand”), the government has awarded more projects to NHPC including the Chenab Valley power projects of about 2100MW; Bursar 1020MW, Uri II 240MW and Kishenganga 330 MW. Actions speak louder than words.
I am reminded of a humorous saying about “statistics”—that what it presents is important, but what it hides is truly ‘vital’.
I am reminded of this because the CM’s tough speak seems to act as a smokescreen for certain ‘vital information’ and mask its submissive stance towards the NHPC. For is it so frightening a task for a tough-talking leader ---after setting up special committees, coming up with recommendations, and meeting with the powers-that-be in New Delhi--- to take back what is genuinely the property of the Jammu & Kashmir state?
For is it so frightening to do something that we teach our children, something very basic—to tell the truth, and in this case, ‘vital information’: that the NHPC has been operating on Jammu & Kashmir land and profiteering from Jammu & Kashmir resources without any document or agreement stating that it is legal for them to operate in Jammu & Kashmir? Yet, the government continues to be silent on this while mentioning that Jammu & Kashmir government is at a disadvantage as it is getting only twelve percent from NHPC-run power projects. What is more vital? The measly twelve percent that the NHPC is giving Jammu & Kashmir or the fact that NHPC has been operating illegally in the first place? Since this fact makes it clear that NHPC operations are illegal, then is it so tough to declare it as it is? In fact, this should make it ‘easier’ for the Jammu & Kashmir government to take the power projects back from the NHPC. This should be done without further delay and regardless of whether or not New Delhi is ‘in the mood’ as the Union Power Minister so arrogantly puts it. Unless, of course, New Delhi wants to set the ‘mood’ swinging for another massive agitation in Jammu & Kashmir, that is. The chief minister should stay tuned to the mood of his own people who are ‘in the mood’ for bold leadership.
A responsible leadership should do more than talk tough or publicize promises such as the chief minister’s target of fulfilling all the power needs of Jammu & Kashmir by 2018. Looking forward is positive. However, the government need not wait until 2018 to act on matters of power resource generation. The need of the hour, which is not even a herculean task to start with, is to take back the power projects from NHPC.
Ultimately, a responsible and reliable leadership should be transparent, as it is steadfast and intrepid in safeguarding the interests of its people through timely, decisive, and concrete measures.
The power-generating companies and Rattle Model is welcome. However, to fundamentally reform the power sector of Jammu & Kashmir, it will need a solid and comprehensive ‘Energy Security Act’. Clear laws. Clear dealings.
(Zeeshan Pandith from Sopore is a social activist & can be reached at
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 24 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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