The Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Employees Union achieved a significant victory as the state government decided to revoke the allocation of four hydroelectric projects to the HP Power Corporation.
The cancellation followed the persistent efforts of the HPSEB Union, which voiced concerns about the management’s actions that could have resulted in the loss of valuable assets and substantial foreign funding for the board.
In an official notification, the government declared the cancellation of the construction of four small hydro projects in Chamba District: Sai Kothi – I (15MW), Sai Kothi – II (18MW), Devi Kothi (16MW), and Hail (18MW).
This decision was made after a delegation from the HPSEB employees union held discussions with Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, highlighting the questionable actions of the management that could have negatively impacted the board’s interests.
The Deputy Secretary of Power, Kultar Singh Rana, issued a two-page order to the Managing Director of HPSEB, stating that the government, in consultation with the Planning Department, reconsidered the proposal to transfer these projects from Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd. (HPSBEL) to Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (HPPCL) for execution.
The original proposal to change the implementing agency from HPSBEL to HPPCL had been approved by the German agency KfW through the Government of India, with a total cost of Rs 880.00 crore.
However, the cancellation was attributed to the requirement for KfW’s prior written consent for modifications related to the Project-Executing Agency’s (EA) name or management, as per the Loan Agreement clauses.
The notification emphasized that financial implications were anticipated due to the revised planning and changes in the Project Executing Agency’s management.
The government acknowledged that the HPSEBL had already spent Rs. 18.23 crore on these projects, which would need to be reimbursed either by the government or by HPPCL.
The funding agency, KfW, would reassess the entire project to evaluate the capabilities of HPPCL for project execution. This decision was expected to cause further delays in obtaining approval from the relevant authorities.
Considering the advice of the Planning Department, the competent authority opted to continue the execution of the four projects under the management of HPSEBL.
To expedite progress, HPSEBL would appoint a dedicated officer responsible for ensuring timely and cost-effective completion of the projects.
The management of HPSEBL would provide regular progress reports to the government, enabling the Chief Minister to stay informed about the projects’ status.