Cash starved JK purchasing power worth crores

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Pardeep Singh Bali

In a startling revelation, despite being power surplus state, the Jammu and Kashmir has spent a whopping Rs 4600 crore on power purchases from outside in 2015-16 to meet its energy requirements, while as National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) continues to earn Rs 1387.99 crore from electricity generation yearly.

The official data revealed that the state has spent Rs 32000 crore on power purchases from outside in the past 12 years (from 2004 to 2016), while NHPC looted over Rs 142 billion (Rs 19431.92 crore) from states’ water resources during the past 14 years.

As per officials, the Power Development Department is heavily relying on power purchases from the Northern Grid, NHPC and other outside agencies to meet its requirements.

Recently it has come to fore through an RTI application that NHPC which is utilizing JK’s water resources has earned Rs 19000 crore in last 14 years, and out of this huge amount, the company has sold power to J&K to the tune of Rs 4000 crore.

The revelation has ‘revitalized’ demand for return of power projects held by the NHPC—a long-pending demand of civil society and business chambers in the state.

The year-wise details of power purchase bills of last 12 years reveal that state government has spent Rs 32,464 crore on power purchases from 2004 to 2016.

In the current fiscal 2015-16, the government has spent Rs 4600 crore on power purchases.

In 2014-15, the data reveals Rs 4,719.60 crore has been billed for power purchase from outside while the same was Rs 3, 945.85 crore in 2013-14, Rs 3870 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 3000 crore in 2011-12.

The break-up of other years on account of power purchase bills is: In 2010-11 (Rs 2200 crore); 2009-10 (Rs 1997 crore); 2008-09 (Rs 2034 crore); 2007-2008 (Rs 1750 crore); 2006-07 (Rs 1355 crore); 2005-06 (Rs 1674 crore) and 2004-05 (Rs 1318 crore).

According to 16th All India Power Survey, the power requirement of the state is expected to reach 19,500 million units during 2020-21 which means that major portion of state’s budget will be needed to buy back power which is generated from Kashmir’s water resources.

As per the Economic Survey Report 2015-16, J&K has vast hydro potential estimated at 20,000 MW out of which only 16,480 MW is identified till date mainly due to resource constraints.

“Approximately 15 percent of total identified hydro power potential i.e. 2,457.96 MW has been exploited so far and out of which the state sector projects is only 760.46 MW,” the ESR report says.

“Out of total power demand of 17,323 million units at present, the power generation from the state-owned power houses is only 2562 million units. Bulk of electricity consumption in the State is by the domestic sector. With modernization and increased urbanization, per-capita energy consumption of the State has increased from 849.98 kWh in 2010-11 to 882.82 kWh in 2011-12,” the report reads.

The cash-starved state government had recently asked the central government to return the 390 MW Dul Hasti and 480 MW Uri-I power projects from National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to the state ownership to boost its economy, but the central power ministry denied the request, citing “legal and financial issues”

Meanwhile, responding to an RTI query NHPC revealed that between 2001 and 2015, it earned Rs 19,431.92 crore from the sale of power generated in Jammu Kashmir to all power utilities including the J&K government.

During these 14 years, NHPC sold 20,841.65 MU (Million Units) of power to Jammu Kashmir government alone, earning Rs. 4,129.58 crore (over Rs 41 billion) including from power generated by the hydel power plants situated at Chutak and Nimmo Bazgo, the response to the RTI reveals.

The RTI also revealed that 40 percent of the hydel power generated by NHPC projects across India flows from Jammu Kashmir and more than two-thirds of the hydel power generated in Kashmir is consumed outside the State.

The response to the RTI reveals that Jammu Kashmir, despite being a power surplus state is not able to resolve the severe power outages.

The RTI response also reveals that during the past 14 years, the hydel projects across Jammu Kashmir executed by NHPC generated at least 115,636 MUs (million units).

It also reveals that there is no mention of a “buyback” of these projects by Government of India to Jammu Kashmir and the language in the Memorandum of Understanding between GoI and J&K only talks about “handing over the projects” to Jammu Kashmir government.

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