J&K parties up in arms over Ratle Power Corporation signing deal with Rajasthan for 40 years

Jammu and Kashmir is set to offtake power generated from 850 MW Ratle Hydroelectric Project in Kishtwar

January 06, 2024 07:08 pm | Updated 07:59 pm IST - SRINAGAR

Jammu and Kashmir’s regional parties were up in arms on Saturday over the recent power purchase agreement between Ratle Hydro Electric Power Corporation Limited (RHPCL) and Rajasthan Urja Vikas and IT Services Limited for offtake of power for a period of 40 years.

National Conference (NC) spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar sought clarification about the agreement. “A power purchase agreement usually lasts for a maximum of 20 years. In this case, it is 40 years at a pre-negotiated price, which is also unknown. There has been a feeling of betrayal amongst the people of J&K that their resources are being bartered away. The government should bring out a white paper on the agreement informing people about its underlying purpose and what benefits will J&K reap from it,” Mr. Dar said.

He said the agreement has stirred a hornet’s nest because the terms and conditions seemingly are to the disadvantage of the Union Territory. “The government should have prioritised providing electricity to the domestic consumers, given the looming energy crisis. For electricity-starved people of J&K, is this agreement a solution?” he asked.

Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said the move to supply electricity to Rajasthan from the Ratle Power Project would “rob” the people of J&K “at a time when J&K is facing a severe power crisis”.

“At a time when J&K is facing a severe power crisis never witnessed before, our hydro-electric resources are being outsourced to other States. Yet another decision that will rob people of basic amenities with an intention to collectively punish the inhabitants of J&K,” Ms. Mufti said.

J&K Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari termed the government’s move as “puzzling”. “At a time when the entire J&K is facing an acute electricity crisis, especially in its rural areas, the reported leasing out of electricity from Rattle Power Project Kishtwar to Rajasthan is quite puzzling. 

“The J&K administration has off and on came on record claiming that it has been buying the power supply from other states to meet the demands in the Union Territory, while at the same time leasing out its own supply to another state is beyond comprehension. I urge the J&K administration to come clear on the facts,” Mr. Bukhari said.

The Ratle Hydro Electric Power Corporation Limited (RHPCL), a joint venture company of NHPC Limited and Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC), signed the power purchase agreement (PPA) with Rajasthan Urja Vikas and IT Services Limited on January 3. It signed the offtake of power generated from 850 MW Ratle Hydroelectric Project, Kishtwar, for a period of 40 years from the commercial operation date (of the project and as per power allocation to be notified by the Ministry of Power), officials said.

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