Himachal's mega hydropower project re-allotted
Shimla : After over a decade of flip-flops and litigation, a multi-million dollar hydropower project was re-allotted on Monday by the Himachal Pradesh government to state-run Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL).
The Cabinet, led by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, allotted the 960-MW Jangi-Thopan-Powari project in Kinnaur district to SJVNL, the company operating the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri plant, India's largest hydro project in the state.The generation capacity of the Jangi-Thopan-Powari project has now been reduced to 780 MW to meet the newly framed environmental laws, a government official told IANS.This hydropower project, one of the most viable ones, requires an investment of over Rs 10,000 crore and aims to generate 4,000 million units per year. It was to be commissioned by 2017.The project was originally allotted to Netherlands-based Brakel Corp. It later included Adani Power as a consortium partner in the project.But the Himachal Pradesh High Court annulled it on October 7, 2009, on a plea by Reliance Infra, one of the bidders.Brakel moved the Supreme Court but withdrew the petition to pursue remedies suggested by the apex court in its order on April 1, 2014.The previous Congress government in the state had forfeited Brakel's up-front premium of Rs 280.69 crore and the damages of Rs 2,717 crore levied on it for causing a loss to the state exchequer by delaying the project.Brakel had clarified that Adani Power -- which was included as a consortium partner in the project -- had deposited the upfront premium.The upfront premium of Rs 280.69 crore is still lying with the government.The state government had signed an agreement with Brakel in 2008, two years after the project was awarded to the Dutch company, for starting the pre-construction activities for the project.The government, as per the pact, was entitled to earn Rs 250 crore annually by selling the free power provided by the project.Officials say if all goes well, it will require another nine years for the project to go on stream. That would take it to 2027.