Accusing the state government of hoodwinking real issues and focusing on irrelevant issues, the state main opposition party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday demanded renegotiation of discriminatory water agreement with NHPC for economic development of the state.
“Jammu and Kashmir has suffered huge loss due to discriminatory agreements signed by the then National Conference regime with the NHPC in the year 2002 against a paltry royalty of just 12 percent electricity,” said former chief minister and PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, adding “it is need of the hour to renegotiate new projects”.
Sayeed in a press handout said the NHPC exploited state’s water resources for a paltry 12% of hydro-power produced and was selling the energy produced from the state’s resources to the state at a premium of Rs 8 to Rs 12 a unit, when the cost of production for which remains at Re 0.50 to Re 1.00 per unit. “According to rough estimates, the state has already been suffering a recurring loss of Rs 600 crore per annum because of the Indus Water Treaty and surrendering of water resources to NHPC against a paltry royalty of just 12 percent electricity has further complicated the State’s economic distress,” said Sayeed.
The former Chief Minister said that his party had moved a resolution in the Assembly against this discriminatory agreement with NHPC but due to non-cooperative attitude of the other parties the resolution could not passed in the House.
"I don't think any state in the country would barter its resources in such a reckless manner as was done by the NC government by handing over seven power projects to NHPC under an arbitrary agreement signed by it with the Union Power Ministry in 2002 when Dr Farooq Abdullah was Chief Minister of the State," he said and added that NC's illogical surrender of the State's water resources to the NHPC was another worst blow to its economy.
He observed that water is to J&K as oil is to the oil producing countries, but the National Conference had systematically sold out this most valuable resource for the lust of political power. He said it was tragic that a state so rich in resources that it could be cash surplus was converted into a virtual begging bowl as a result of NC’s lust for power.
“We demand rights on our water resources so that we can utilize these resources properly to make our State economically self-reliant”, he said and further demanded that NHPC projects namely Dulhasti and Uri hydro electric projects should be handed over to Jammu and Kashmir government.
“Need of the hour is too convince the Union Government to hand over Dulhasti and Uri power projects to the State”, he demanded and pointed out that during his recent visit with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh he has once again raised this demand.
“Our demand of handing over hydro electric projects to the State was already substantiated by the working group headed by C Rangrajan who has suggested that hydro electric projects managed by the NHPC should be handed over to the State for the economic development of this region”, he said and PDP is the first political party which has created awareness among masses about discriminatory agreement with NHPC.
“Residents of our State have been confronting with acute power crises but the energy generated in the State is supplied to other parts”, he pointed out and stressed on the need of handing over all hydro electric projects to the State to solve this problem once for all.
As far as the Indus Water Treaty is concerned it is an agreement between two nations and secondly our country doesn’t want Pakistan to be converted into a desert.