JK initiates fresh talks with Punjab to seek power share
While the solution of water dispute between Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab seems to be out of sight, the former has started fresh negotiations with the latter to get its legitimate share of electricity from the Thein Dam Hydel project. A three member panel has been constituted by the government to get electricity from the project in accordance with the agreement signed by former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah with his Punjab counterpart Prakash Singh Badal in 1979.
Documents in possession of Greater Kashmir reveal that Principal Secretary Power Development Department, Arun Kumar Mehta has set-up a three member committee to explore ways and means for availing l state’s share from the project. Development Commissioner Power J&K, Chief Engineer System and Operation Jammu, Chief Engineer Commercial & Survey JK constitute the panel.
“The issue regarding allocation of 120 MW power from Ranjeet Sagar dam to JK was discussed with the Development Commissioner Power (DCP) J&K, Chief Engineer System and Operation and Director Planning, PDD. This issue has been pending for a long time and not reached the state of conclusion. A team is hereby constituted to resolve the issue immediately so that the JK can avail its legitimate share. The committee would ensure that this power is made available in near future at economical rate,” the order number PDD/111/ 56/186 dated June 13, 2013 reads.
Sources disclosed that the panel was constituted after DCP, Asgar Ali held talks with officials of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) over the matter last month.
“PSPCL expressed willingness to provide us with 120 MWs from the project, but the cost of energy quoted by them was much higher and is unacceptable to us. While the State is purchasing electricity at around Rs 3. 50 per unit from different sources, the rate quoted by PSPCL was more than Rs seven per unit energy,” they said.
According to them, JK is also contemplating to knock the doors of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) if Punjab sticks to its stand vis-à-vis rates.
“First option before us is to resolve the issue amicably; and if talks fail then we can explore other options like legal remedy,” they added.
On May 14 this year, Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khanday also discussed the evacuation of power from the project with his Punjab counterpart, Rakesh Singh along with other unresolved issues between the two states.
Pertinently, as per 1979 agreement, JK was to get 20 percent electricity from 600-MW Thein Dam Hydel project.
“In case the J&K state is not able to utilize the power share for its own consumption, it may sell the same to the Punjab State at mutually agreed rates,” the agreement reads.