Jammu and Kashmir government today said it is working out modalities to enable the return of NHPC-run power projects of the state, but did not give any time-frame for the same.
“It (return of power projects) is on the Agenda of Alliance. I have had extensive discussions with people in Delhi. Modalities are being worked out,” state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu told reporters here after presenting the state budget for 2016-17 in the state legislature.
The Minister said state government has worked out a few modalities with NHPC, but refrained from providing a time-frame for the return of the power projects.
“We have worked out three to four modalities and we will see which one suits (the state) best. I cannot provide the exact date as to when the power projects will be returned to the state as the modalities are being worked out,” he said.
Asked about Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal s statement that the NHPC-run power projects cannot be returned to the state, Drabu said it was Goyal’s view.
He (Goyal) has a view and this is not for the first time that objections have been raised.
“He is a good friend of mine (but) he does not own NHPC. I can assure you that extensive discussions have happened,” the Finance Minister said.
Earlier, the Finance Minister presented a separate Power Budget in the assembly saying budget deficit of Rs 2,988 crore of the state was only on account of deficit in the power sector which was to the tune of over Rs 3,900 crore.
“We have an unfunded gap of Rs 2,988 crore. The power deficit in financial terms is Rs 3927 crore. In other words, if the power sector financials are taken care of, the State will not have a budgetary gap.
Indeed, it will be a surplus.
“Even worse is that despite incurring such losses, we are not able to provide adequate quantity and appropriate quality of power to our people,” Drabu said.
The finance minister also announced a sop for families living below poverty line (BPL) saying the metered households from this section of the society will be given 30 units free per month and exempt from paying the fixed charges as well.
The minister said while the average per unit cost of electricity supplied to consumers is Rs 7.72, the average sale per unit is Rs 3.64.
At the approved tariff, the average gap or loss comes to Rs 4.18 per unit, or 54 per cent of the cost price per unit comprises of operational inefficiencies and a component of implicit subsidy which is neither directed nor targeted, Drabu said, adding the government would take some measures to reduce the gap by around Rs 2.