Handing over Rattle power project to NHPC unacceptable: Omar

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Wednesday opposed the proposed handing over of 850-MW Rattle power project to the national hydroelectric power corporation (NHPC), saying the “sell-out” of a viable power project will have “long term negative implications on the state’s economic growth”.
Photo: Aman Farooq/ GK
Photo: Aman Farooq/ GK

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Wednesday opposed the proposed handing over of 850-MW Rattle power project to the national hydroelectric power corporation (NHPC), saying the "sell-out" of a viable power project will have "long term negative implications on the state's economic growth".

Omar made the remarks at a function here, day after Greater Kashmir published a story about a proposal being finalised by the governor's administration to give clearance to setting up of a new joint venture (JV) company between the NHPC and state's power development corporation (PDC) for execution of state-owned Rattle power project.

Cautioning the governor's administration against the proposed move, Omar said: "Any such sellout will inevitably cause immense damage to the state. Governor must rethink this decision and issue necessary directions to the concerned to put a stop to any such a move".

The former chief minister said the proposed move would "undermine economic interests of the state".

"The project can exclusively be run by the state effectively," he said, addressing NC workers and functionaries at a day-long block convention in Khanyar, Srinagar.

According to the proposal, the NHPC would own 51 percent shares in the company while the PDC's shares will be 49 percent. The latest proposal is in contrast to the one taken up by the state administration with the union power ministry in November last year. That time, the state had proposed five models of joint venture for the project, with 15 percent to 25 percent free power to Jammu and Kashmir, while as PDC was the major stakeholder in the all proposed models.

"Once in power, we will ensure that all measures initiated by the governor's administration, which are detrimental to state's interests and its identity, are revoked," Omar said.

"Not even a single megawatt of electricity was added to the energy sector of state by the former BJP-PDP government. On the contrary, due to their imprudent policies, the state lost its financial autonomy and suffered immensely across different sectors. The incumbent governor's administration, unfortunately, is following the suit and has reportedly initiated measures to hand over projects under state control like Rattle power project to outside agencies," he said.

On the occasion, Omar reiterated the party's "resolve" to safeguard and protect Articles 35A and 370 "against all machinations".

"We will continue our fight against those who are conspiring to attack our identity and special status. Ever since the PDP- BJP alliance came into being, there have been innumerable attacks to weaken the state's interests and its political identity. Even today there are forces in various forms which are hell-bent upon destroying our special status but we will not let them win," he said.

Omar maintained that his party was "alive to difficulties" of people of Srinagar. "The urban environment of Srinagar is fraught with problems ranging from traffic congestion, housing problems, slum growth and gross unemployment. The need of the hour is to have an inclusive development policy wherein development and preservation of ecology go hand-in-hand," he said.

Party's general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, while addressing the convention, said: "The policies pursued by the PDP-BJP government proved detrimental to the small businesses of Srinagar. The extension of GST to the state has severely marred the artisan community of state and Srinagar in particular," he said.


The Peoples Democratic Party was not only unsuccessful in getting back J&K's power projects from the central agencies, it also failed to implement its entire agenda of alliance, Omar said on Wednesday.

Addressing a gathering in northern Handwara area, Omar said the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti re-entered into an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party "only to save her party because she was afraid that her party will split".

The implementation of the agenda of alliance was never Mehbooba's desire, Omar said, adding that Mehbooba herself admitted that her coalition with the BJP in 2016 was "only to save her party".

Mehbooba never intended to get back power projects or provide jobs to youngsters in the state as she had promised, Omar said, adding that she only wanted to save her party and "today everyone is aware of her party's condition".

Omar said the proposal to hand over state-owned Rattle power project to the NHPC "will be a big mistake of the governor-led administration".

"The governor's administration should leave the decision (on Rattle) to the elected government," he said.

Asked about assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said his party wants the elections to be held as soon as possible.

"Let the people elect their representatives. There should be no more wastage of time in holding the assembly polls," he said.

He said the Supreme Court has upheld that assembly polls must be held within six months of the dissolution of assembly in any state.

"We want the elections to be held as soon possible, but it will also depend on the situation in the state," he said. 

Omar said it is "exam time" for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Holding elections in the state will decide what type of situation he (Modi) has created in Kashmir," Omar said. 

Omar and other NC leaders were on a visit to the residence of former minister and senior party leader Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan in Handwara to express solidarity with him and his family on the demise of Ramzan's father-in-law.

Expressing solidarity with the bereaved family, Omar prayed for peace to the departed soul and said the entire party stands in solidarity with Choudhary Ramzan and his family in this hour of grief.

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