Directive on power projects assailed

Shimla, September 18: The Himachal Professional Forum has criticised the decision of state government to assign the mini hydroelectric projects up to 10 MW through the HIMURJA which were earlier being handled by the state electricity board.

Mr R.L. Justa, convener of the forum, said the HIMURJA was basically an agency for popularising non-conventional sources of energy like solar photovoltaic energy system and did not have technical expertise for tendering the projects of more than 5 MW capacity. The agency was headed by an officer of the Indian Forest Service and had only one superintending engineer, two executive engineers, 15 assistant engineers and 30 junior engineers. On the other hand, the board which had 15 chief engineers, 55 superintending engineers and 200 executive engineers with requisite expertise, whose services were being grossly underutilised.

He said if projects up to 10 MW were to be assigned through the HIMURJA it should be strengthened by deputing at least one chief engineer, two superintending engineers and 15 executive of civil and electrical cadre from the board. Moreover, the agency should be headed by a chief engineer.

Mr Justa urged the government to implement its decision to allot projects up to 1 MW to Himachalis and up to 2 MW to local cooperative societies by cancelling the MoUs in respect of the already awarded projects in which no work had been carried out. He said as many as 264 projects with an aggregate capacity of 476 MW had been allotted since 1994-95 but no work had been done in over 100 projects. The allottees, instead of executing the projects, trying to sell them at a premium.

The HIMURJA had recently returned the earnest money in respect of 195 projects but the applications had not been cancelled so far. He urged the government to cancel the applications immediately and invite fresh applications for awarding these projects to Himachalis. In future all the self-identified sites should be exclusively reserved for Himachalis.

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