Post Oct 31, GOI mulling to renew NHPC’s power sharing agreement

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Srinagar

The union government is considering the proposal to revive the power sharing agreement the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir had signed with the power giant NHPC to ensure no scarcity of electricity in Jammu as well as in Kashmir Valley is witnessed.

Official sources told Kashmir News Service that the proposal is under consideration by virtue of which the power sharing agreement between Jammu and Kashmir which after October 31 will have the status of the Union territory and the NHPC will be renewed.

Jammu and Kashmir has already been witnessing severe paucity of power and especially during the winter period, wedge between the demand and supply becomes wider.

The shortage of power is also believed to be due to the distribution of water resources that was agreed to between India and Pakistan through the instrumentality of the Indus Water Treaty (1960). The argument made in the documents of the Government of J&K is that of the estimated potential of 20,000 MW (identified potential being 16480 MW) of the Indus River Basin, a large percentage of which cannot be harnessed for the benefit of the state as the Indus Water Treaty only allows for run-of-the-river projects that do not affect the riparian rights of Pakistan. Same is believed to reduce the power production to a third of the full potential. During 2011, for the first time since 1960, the Government of J&K appointed a consultant to quantify the losses to the state occurring due to the Indus Water Treaty. At the same time, the State Finance Commission is reported to have recommended that Pakistan must also be made to pay for the losses to the J&K exchequer. It is estimated that the state’s power demand is likely to be 2,600 MW in 2012–13 and 5,500 MW by 2025–26.

Another major issue is that Jammu and Kashmir is receiving a mere  12 per cent free power as royalty from the NHPC projects. This is particularly alarming as nearly crores are being spent for the power purchase. Much of this power is purchased from the Northern Grid, to which the J&K itself contributes.(KNS)

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