SAC approves restructuring, unbundling of PDD, operationalization of Tradeco
SRINAGAR: The State Administrative Council (SAC), on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik accorded approval for operationalization of the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Trading Company Limited (Tradeco) and issuance of SRO notification regarding PDD Transfer Scheme (Phase-I) Rules, 2018.
The spokesman in a statement said that Advisors to Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to Governor, Umang Narula were present at the meeting.
It is pertinent to mention that the Central Electricity Act of 2003, applicable to the whole of India (except J&K) mandated the promotion of competition and efficiency in the power sector by operating it as a prudent commercial enterprise. One of the key steps towards this goal was “unbundling” of the generation, transmission and distribution undertakings in the States into separate corporate entities and running these on sound business lines.
The J&K Electricity Act, 2010 was enacted to provide a framework similar to the Central Electricity Act of 2003. Consequently, J&K SPDC was approved as a Nodal Agency to act on behalf of the Government of J&K for the unbundling exercise to be completed in 2012 itself.
In 2012, Cabinet accorded sanction to the unbundling of the Power Development department into four successor companies i.e (i) Jammu & Kashmir State Power Transmission Company Limited (Transco), (ii) Jammu and Kashmir State Power Trading Company Limited (Tradeco), (iii) Jammu Power Distribution Company Limited (Jammu Discom), and (iv) Kashmir Power Distribution Company Limited (Kashmir Discom).
Even though the successor companies have already been incorporated, the operationalization of these companies could not take place till date due to various reasons.
The operationalization of Tradeco is proposed to be completed in two phases. The first phase is planned to be implemented immediately and would involve Tradeco carrying out functions/responsibilities related to power trading like purchase entire power requirement for JKPDD and perform an activity of bulk supply of power, trading of surplus power, etc. The second phase will be initiated once other successor companies (Transco, Jammu Discom and Kashmir Discom) become operational.
For making the Tradeco functional, activities like winding up of the Commercial & Survey Wing of PDD, the creation of office space for Tradeco, Staff transfer etc will be undertaken.
This initiative by the PDD is a first step towards unbundling of PDD and setting a roadmap for clearing the liabilities on account of outstanding power purchase bills. It will also reduce the cost of purchasing power by bringing in efficiency and taking advantage of discounts. The introduction of personnel with specialized skills in the power purchase sector will lead to optimization of the cost of supply of power and ensuring immediate financial and operational benefits to the Department. The Administrative Secretary PDD will be the Chairman of Tradeco.
SAC approves separate JVC for 850MW Ratle power project
During the meeting Malik also accorded sanction to the formation of a separate Joint Venture Company, having Government of India (Central PSU) and Government of J&K (J&KSPDC) as the two partners owning defined shares in the Company, for the object of development of the 850 MW Ratle Hydro Electric Project (HEP) and its transfer to the State of J&K within a period of seven (07) years from the start of commercial operation of the project.
SAC further accorded sanction to the submission of 05 Models of Joint Ventures based on ownership proportion with 15-25% free power (including Local Area Development Fund) to the Ministry of Power, Government of India for the purpose of arriving at the best suitable Joint Venture Model. The analysis of the models has revealed that all of these will be favorable to Jammu and Kashmir with majority ownership remaining with State (ranging from 51% to 90% State ownership).
The hydropower projects, with long gestation periods, coupled with relief & rehabilitation issues and higher initial capital investment, have not remained attractive investment portfolios for private investors. Secondly, most of the major civil construction agencies in the country are presently facing financial stress and tend to avoid such investments. To minimize risk in investments, construction agencies feel more comfortable to work as contractors and not owners in the development of hydropower.
In view of the strategic importance of accelerating development of hydropower projects on western rivers as per provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir proposed development of the project in joint venture mode between Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC) and Central PSUs. An earlier Joint Venture was established for PakalDul, Kiru&Kwar HEPs (CVPP ltd).
The Project shall cater to the energy requirements of the State in particular and the country as a whole, in addition to providing gainful employment and bringing developmental activities in the project area.
The 850 MW Ratle HEP has been conceived as a run of the river project, located on River Chenab near Drabshalla village in Kishtwar District and lies in between Dulhasti HEP on its upstream and Baglihar HEP on its downstream. Among the bigger upcoming projects in Chenab valley, this project is considered as the most conveniently located and most amenable to expeditious development. It can be completed in about 5 years and would benefit the State a lot. The last attempt at promoting it as a PPP project with a 35-year concession period failed. The Joint Venture is the best route now to realize the potential of the Ratle HEP.
SAC dispenses with oral test for selection of Medical Officers, only written test in future
He also approved the amendment in Jammu and Kashmir Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules, 2013, in so far as it relates to dispensing of ‘oral test’ for selection to the posts of Medical Officers in the Health and Medical Education Department.
The SAC further directed the Health and Medical Education Department to immediately formulate and finalize the eligibility/selection criteria for the posts of Medical Officers, including the standard of written test in consultation with the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission.
The Health & Medical Education Department is one of the essential services departments and Medical Officers are the cutting-edge level functionaries and backbone of the Health Department. The decision to dispense with oral test will enable fast track recruitment of these Medical Officers in the larger public interest, which in turn will further improve the patient care across the State including in far flung and remote pockets.
There are over 1000 vacancies of Medical Officers, which if filled fast, will improve the health services in the State.
SAC approves the opening of 40 new Degree Colleges across JK
During the meeting, it was also decided to open 40 new degree colleges in a phased manner across the state, including the 26-degree colleges already sanctioned.
While acknowledging the need for opening up of more colleges in un-served areas to provide access to hitherto deprived sections of the society and increasing the enrolment at college level which is the need of the hour, the SAC decided to constitute a Committee under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Finance with Principal Secretary, Planning Development & Monitoring, Commissioner/Secretary, Higher Education and Secretary, School Education as its members to finalize the phasing of sanctioned colleges, and examine the feasibility of likely locations for new colleges; keeping in view the prescribed norms besides factors like enrolment, student-teacher ratio, faculty deployment, geographical conditions and financial requirement.
Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the Higher Education Department will seek approval of the Competent Authority to the operationalization of the sanctioned and new colleges in a phased manner.
The SAC also endorsed the opening of Degree College at Drass done with prior approval and concurrence of Finance and Planning Departments. It also welcomed the opening of Model Degree Colleges at Villgam in Kupwara and Paddar in Kishtwar Districts under RUSA 2.0 for which necessary orders to modify the sanction from State Plan to RUSA 2.0 was also directed.
SAC decided that opening of two Administrative Staff Colleges, one each at Srinagar and Jammu, after due examination of the level, scope and location of the Administrative Staff Colleges will be done by the aforementioned Committee The phasing of opening up of new Colleges shall be subject to and supported by adequate funds for faculty and staff to enable the new colleges to have good standards from inception.
The increase in colleges is essential so that more and more youth get the benefit of college education and the gross enrolment rises further from the current 26%. This would be the best way for youth to get gainful employment and lead prosperous, happy lives.