NHPC deposits Rs 450 cr water cess

Money To Be Used For Power Generation: Taj

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Nov 4: Following the enactment of State Water Resources Regulation and Management Act and constitution of State Water Resources Regulatory Authority, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), that operates all major power projects in Jammu and Kashmir, has deposited Rs 450 crore as water usage charges with the state government.
 The development comes close on the heels of the formal constitution of the State Water Resources Regulatory Authority (SWRRA) by J&K government. “The NHPC has paid the water usage charge for six months from March 2012 to August 2012 to the tune of Rs 450 crore,” Minister for PHE and Irrigation Taj Mohiuddin told Greater Kashmir.
 He said earlier the Corporation had paid Rs 723 crore as water usage charges. “The Corporation has paid a cumulative amount of Rs 1173 crore so far,” the PHE Minister said. He said the money collected from the Corporation will be used for “buying back power projects, power generation and upgrading existing power infrastructure” in the state.
 “We had earlier passed an ordinance and recently the law has been passed as well for collecting the money and specifying where it would be used. We have already formed the SWRRA to collect and utilize the money,” Taj said.
 PHE Minister said the water usage charges could fetch the state whopping Rs 5000 during next five years. “With this money, we can generate at least 3000 MWs of electricity. We can also acquire loan to set up new power projects besides retrieving the old ones,” he said.
 The government recently appointed former Chief Secretary S S Kapur as the chairman of the SWRRA with V K Abrol and Abdur Rashid Tak as its members. The SWRRA was constituted under section 139 of JK Water Resources Regulation and Management (JKWRRM) Act 2010.
 Sources said the initial amount of Rs 723 crore paid by NHPC as “water cess” was seen as a move to keep the J&K government in a “good humor” as the Civil Society and the PHE Minister had started a serious campaign against NHPC for return of power projects. “However, further steps taken by JK government forced the Corporation to admit that the water they were using for generating electricity was the property of the State. First the water usage Act and now the authority resulted as pressure on the Corporation to pay the charges,” a source privy to the development said.
 The Kashmir Centre for Social and Developmental Studies (KCSDS), civil society group spearheading campaign for the return of power projects from NHPC, however, said the water usage charges paid by NHPC is “peanuts”. “The NHPC earns Rs 5000 crore from the power projects they have in J&K. So paying an amount of Rs 1000 crore is very meager,” said KCSDS, chairperson Hameeda Nayeem.
 The Corporation operates three major projects in JK—Uri-I, Dulhasti and Salal—having total generation capacity of 1680 MWs. The Cabinet Sub Committee(CSC) on return of power projects headed by Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather has strongly advocated return of Uri-I and Salal besides seeking back the extra amount of Rs 2650 crore paid by JK to NHPC as power usage charges.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 5 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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