In a major policy shift, chief minister Omar Abdullah has waved off the technical pre-requisites required for setting up small power projects for the state subjects. This is aimed at encouraging local investors to enter the new area that despite being a sunrise sector lacks enough expertise in private sector.
J&K’s State Power Development Corporation is considering setting aside 15 small power projects for implementation by the state subjects. “We are in the process of notifying the projects and it will happen once the orders of the decision are announced,” a senior official in the PDC said.
The decision was the outcome of a long process that PDC started this summer. It’s executives had a series of meetings with the industry groups and business associations in Srinagar and Jammu. They were encouraged to invest in the energy sector which will help state manage its energy deficit as the investors will make money. After a series of such meetings, discussions reached a point where the willing investors said the state’s energy policy needs adequate changes so that they are able to invest. The biggest handicap was their lack of expertise in the energy sector which was a fundamental prerequisite for the entry into the sector.
The industry had a detailed meeting with the chief minister who also holds the power ministry portfolio. They told the chief minister that though they are willing to invest and have adequate funds available, they all being first generation enthusiasts in the energy sector, they lack the basic know how. It was in this meeting that Omar Abdullah agreed that this particular clause would be waved off in case of state subjects. Instead, they will be asked to hire experts from energy sector within the state who will help them establish the projects if and when they bag it through the routine process.
The decision, though yet to be announced is being considered vital for involving the local investors in managing state’s energy deficit while tapping the vast hydropower potential. Power Development Corporation is in the process identifying at least 15 small power projects exclusively for the state subjects. Once they implement these projects, they will gain enough of experience to take care of slightly major projects.
Right now state has two operational power projects in the private sector as third one is at an advanced stage of implementation.