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Himachal

Posted at: Feb 10, 2018, 12:39 AM; last updated: Feb 10, 2018, 12:39 AM (IST)

Changes in hydropower policy on cards

Locals, tribals demand ban on power projects citing climate change as reason
Changes in hydropower policy on cards
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur listens to the grievances of people at Shimla on Friday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 8

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today hinted that the government would bring about changes in the hydropower policy to ramp up the power sector in the state, even as locals and tribals have been seeking ban on power projects, citing climate change as a major reason.

The Chief Minister and Power Minister Anil Sharma, hinted at changes in the hydropower policy at a meeting with the representatives of power developers held here. The Chief Minister assured the developers that it was necessary to resolve petty issues of the small-power producers to tap the potential of around 3,000 MW. “We will put in place measures to harness power potential of 27,000 MW out of which only 10,519 MW has been generated so far in the state”, he added.

Thakur said the tariff issue could be discussed with regulator and the tariff applicability from the date of commercial commissioning could be explored. The no objection certificates (NOC) with regard to forest clearance, the IPH Department and other line departments would be fast tracked, he added.

The delegation of the Himalaya Power Producer Association (HPPA) and the Bona-fide Himachal Power Developers Association (BHPDA) demanded cut in royalty rates and access charges and a raise in tariff rates, making them on a par with other states to make projects viable.

Apart from demanding power purchase agreement for 13 years, power producers sought no interference from local NGOs. The tariff rate of Rs 2.98 per unit is too low in Himachal. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has kept it at Rs 5.07 per unit for Himachal and Rs 4.04 for Punjab and Rs 4.69 per unit for Uttarakhand, they pointed out.

Taking stock of the issues raised by the developers, MPP and Power Minister Anil Sharma said the government would take immediate measures to resolve the tariff and royalty issues.

The government was ensuring that the stage 1 clearances should be given without delay within one month. The construction stage issues pertaining to tariff and local issues needed to be resolved, he said.

Though the new government mulled policy changes as per demands of the developers, it faced an uphill task as locals and tribals were up in arms against the power projects and demanding a moratorium on their executing.

The Himlok Jagriti Manch, and Shelli and Jispa Sangharsh Samitis had submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister and the Central Forest and Water Ministries seeking a ban on power projects.

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