J&K is NHPC’s Power House

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Power starved J&K is a major power source for mainland India as NHPC derives half of its power and revenue from its facilities in the state. reports R S GULL.

Powerhouse or money bank!

Powerhouse or money bank!

For the second consecutive year, J&K operations offer National Hydro Power Corporation, India’s major hydro-power utility, half of its revenue. The share will go up in coming years as some of its projects currently under various stages of implementation in the state will reach completion. In the fiscal 2008-09, NHPC achieved highest ever net profit of Rs. 1050 crores as its sales turnover reached an all time high of Rs. 2562 crores. It generated and sold 16690 millions of energy in the financial year ending March 31, 2009. Interestingly, almost half of the its energy – 8240 million units – came from its operations in the water abundant but energy-deficit J&K.NHPC runs three projects in the state – Salal, Uri and Dulhasti. The flagship Salal power project is a major contributor to its kitty because it produces the cheapest energy – Re 0.63 per unit – in India.

In fact, NHPC took off from J&K when it started Salal in 1975. Though it has expanded and invested heavily in various projects and joint ventures (JVs) across India, J&K continues to be its major power house. It has cumulative 1560-MWs capacity in operation that has taken a total staggered investment of Rs 9554 crores.

Its generations in J&K were making 57.50 percent of NHPC’s total generations in 2003-04, 50.15 percent in 2004-05. Later the share fell to 48.38 percent in 2005-06 and 48.49 percent in 2006-07 as its projects in other states were commissioned. But in 2007-08 when NHPC’s total generation was 14813 million units, J&K accounted for 8037.31 MUs (54.56 percent) after Dul Hasti power project in Uri was commissioned after an inordinate delay.

NHPC’s projects in J&K are performing better than expected. Sources in the corporation said the Uri project produced 3032 million units in the last financial year against a targeted 2716 million units – a performance of 112 percent. Dulhasti generated 2199 million units against a target of 2002 million units, making it exceed its targets that reached 110 percent. In case of Salal, there is a bit of decline since 2006-07, the last year when it exceeded its targets. Against targeted generation of 3236 million units last fiscal, it produced 3009, which was 93 percent of the targets. Fall in the water discharge of river and heavy siltation in the dam contributed to its target shortfall.

The per unit tariff rate is below one rupee in case of Salal (Rs. 0.63) and Uri-I (Rs. 0.82) but in case of Dulhasti it is a bit expensive because it took over two decades in completion. It is three rupees per unit.

But NHPC’s entire generation in J&K is not being sold because it has to pay 12.5 of the total generations to the state as royalty, an issue that is the new eyesore in NHPC-J&K relations. J&K has been pleading that its royalty be increased but the bureaucracy in New Delhi backs the NHPC.

In coming days, NHPC’s harvest from J&K’s waters would only increase. Its four projects with cumulative installed capacity of 449 MWs would be completed between 2010 and 2012. These are Uri-II, Sewa-II, and the twin micro projects of Nimu-Bazgo and Chutak in Ladakh.

Besides, it has six other projects in J&K already handed over by the earlier National Conference government. That would add up 4160 MWs to the NHPC kitty. Most of these projects are being funded by debit to the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP). These projects include the highly disputed 330-MW Kishanganga, 1000-MW Pakal Dul, 1020-MW Bursar, 600-MW Kiru, 520-MW Kawar, and 690-MW Ratle.

Off late, the NHPC and J&K Power Development Corporation are working jointly to set up a JV for three power projects – 600 MW Kiru, 1000 MW Pakal Dul and 520 MW Kawar. These involve an investment of over Rs 12,720 crore – on BOOM (build, own, operate and maintain) basis. This will effectively mean getting the three projects back to the state. Though a MoU was signed last year, the two sides are yet to sign a formal agreement.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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