After the recent investment approval by Union Power Ministry for the proposed Sawalkot Hydroelectric Power Project , it is being hoped that this development is a step towards ending the power shortage in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government, while signing the memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) for implementation and execution of five Hydroelectric Power Projects (HEPs) in January last year, had assured to end the power crises and provide 24 hour supply by doubling the power generation in next four years.
In Jammu and Kashmir, 3500 MWs of power is being generated presently, while it has the potential of generating 20,000 MWs of which 16,475 MW have been identified.
Having been conceived in 1984, the Sawalkot project could not be built because of decades long delay.
The delay was because of several reasons including objections. Some years back the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Limited ( J&KSPDCL) was intending to undertake Sawalkot project construction and it also got approval for this purpose in January, 2017.
It was being expected that the work on the project would start some time after the approval was given and some financial institutions were to provide the funds. But this did not happen. In January 2021, the J&K government under a MoU handed over the project to NHPC .
Reports indicate that the J&K Power Development Corporation Limited ( Earlier, J&K State Power Development Corporation Limited) does not have the resources to undertake any of the mega power projects.
Most of the present projects including Salal, Uri, Dul Hasti, Sewa-2, Uri-2 and Kishanganga are being run by NHPC which allots J&K 12 percent power share of this capacity.
J&K in total receives 20 percent of the electricity it generates and the remaining 80 percent goes to neighbouring states, reports say.
Officials say the same rule applies for NHPC run power projects in other states and that there is no discrimination.
The MoUs signed in January last year is aiming at attracting investments worth Rs 35,000 crore for the power sector.
The MoUs will lead to implementation of the Ratle Hydroelectric Project (HEP) and the Kirthai-II HEP projects, besides the execution of the Sawalkot HEP , Uri-I (Stage-II) and Dulhasti (Stage-II).
According to the MoUs, the projects will be handed over to J&K after 40 years of commercial operation.