Himachal makes hydro policy investor-friendly

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Shimla, May 8 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday approved major amendments to the state’s hydropower policy to speed up the upcoming projects. It decided to defer 12 per cent free power for the first 12 years in the allotted projects.

The Cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Jai Rama Thakur, gave approval to rationalise the rates of royalty for allotment of new projects in view of the national hydropower policy and provisions of bordering states of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, a government spokesperson told IANS.

Besides approving to defer 12 per cent free power for the first 12 years for the already allotted projects, the Cabinet approved that power of projects up to 10 MW would be purchased by the state electricity board.

Also, it was approved that generic tariff applicable in case of hydro-electric projects up to 25 MW will be of the date of the commissioning and not of the date of the implementation agreement.

It approved that wheeling charges or open access charges will not be levied for hydro-electric projects up to 25 MW, enabling them to sell power at competitive rates outside the state too.

All these steps will ensure that the 737 stalled projects of around 5,100 MW will get a lifeline and their execution will be geared up, said the spokesperson.

Moreover, it will be possible to allot 300 projects of 2,200 MW for which there were no takers despite repeated advertisements under the old policy.

All these steps will catalyse private investment in the hydropower sector at least to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore over the next 10 years, he added.

In another decision, the Cabinet decided to allocate the 66 MW Dhaulasidh hydro project on the Beas river in Hamirpur district to state-run SJVN Ltd for implementation on standalone, build, own, operate and maintain (BOOM) basis instead of a special purpose vehicle.

Of the total potential of about 24,000 MW, a potential to the tune of 20,912 MW has been allotted under various sectors. A potential of 10,519 MW has already been harnessed so far, says the Economic Survey 2017-18 report.

The Cabinet also approved guidelines for the implementation of the ‘Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kissan’ scheme in the state to reduce the cost of cultivation and enhanced farm income by adopting zero budget natural farming.

The scheme will give a new fillip to organic farming and reduce the use of chemical fertilisers by the farmers.

For setting up a cement plant, it decided to issue a ‘letter of intent’ for grant of mining lease for setting up a white cement plant at Noradhar in Sirmaur district to FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals India Ltd, a government undertaking.

–IANS

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