Monday, August 20, 2007

Sikkim BJP for revival of ‘idle’ hydel power projects

GANGTOK, Aug 19: The state BJP unit has identified eight non-functional power projects as an alternative to the 26 mega power projects that the state government has proposed to set up at Dzongu in North Sikkim. More than 75 per cent of the hydroelectric power projects in Sikkim are non-functional. These include the Chatten hydel power plant, Rabum hydel power plant, Lagyap hydel power plant, Jali hydel power plant, Topakhani hydel power plant, Nimtar hydel power plant, Rothak hydel power plant and Rimbi hydel power plant, the BJP leaders, said. “Many of new hydroelectric power projects started by private companies or through joint collaboration with the state government may also end up in a similar manner as the other power projects. When the power projects which require no further investment for construction of the dam, channel, power plants, staff quarters, roads and machinery, can not be run profitably, the possibility of new projects being shut down immediately after beginning operations can not be ruled out”, said Mr HR Pradhan, president of the Sikkim BJP unit. “Many of the projects may not have the capacity to generate the power which has been indicated in the report and many of them may have been prepared on the basis of a very short period of discharge of the water flow and hence the generation capacity is highly inflated. With the inflated generation capacity, the private companies may have taken loans from financial institutions for an amount much higher than what was needed,” Mr Pradhan, added. He urged the state government to provide detailed reports of the hydroelectric projects it has sanctioned. The report must include the following points: which are the projects; what is the generation capacity of the project; what is the period of water discharge; a list of sanctioned letters; cost of the project; capital cost of each megawatt of power generation; what is the peak and lean period of production throughout 365 days; what is the total investment for each of the power projects; sources of finance; what is the period of repayment; which are the institutions that are funding the projects; what is the rate of interest being paid to the lending institutions; what is the percent share from the power generation in return; how many years would it take for the recovery to be made; who has given the surety for borrowing; if it is given by the state government, how was this decided; who undertook the environment impact studies and what is the level of dependency of the studies; what is the life of the project envisaged when factors like siltation, infrastructure building is taken into consideration; what is the amount expected from revenue once operations start on a yearly basis; what profit the investor is likely to make; what is the credibility of the institutions/companies which are taking up the projects and what will happen if the investor of the hydel project absconds before completing projects and who will be responsible for that?