Kashmir government preparing white paper on BagliharApril 25th, 2008 - 5:32 pm ICT by admin
Jammu, April 25 (IANS) Almost a decade after contracting out the 450MW Baglihar hydro-electric project to a construction major, the Jammu and Kashmir government has concluded that the deal was heavily weighed in favour of the contractor - who had been repeatedly missing deadlines. And now finally realising that it was being taken for a ride by contractors Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, the state government has decided to bring out a white paper on the project seeking to make public what it felt was wrong with the deal concluded by the previous National Conference regime.
The Congress-led government discussed the issue late Thursday evening and reportedly learnt to its shock that it could take no punitive action against the contractor for the missed deadlines.
According to a ministerial source, the government - feeling handicapped - decided the least it could do was to issue a white paper on the subject making clear to the public as to what was wrong in the contract and why the 450-MW hydro-electric project that should have been commissioned three years ago was still nowhere close to completion.
Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Wednesday constituted a three-member panel headed by the government’s economic advisor to examine how the contractor could be penalised for missing deadlines.
Azad had proposed a penalty of Rs.81 crore (Rs.810 million) on the contractors for their failure to the meet the deadlines.
Baglihar hydroelectric project, located on river Chenab, would have an underground powerhouse with three 150MW turbines. The project promoters, state-owned J&K Power Development Corp., had signed an EPC contract with the construction major, Jaiprakash Associates, in April 1999, giving a completion schedule of five years. The project has, however, been delayed for more than one reason.
Pakistan had raised objections to the project after India gave notice of undertaking it way back in 1992. These were raised more vehemently subsequent to the construction contract being signed in 1999.
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Tags: baglihar, chief minister, crore, economic advisor, favour, ghulam nabi azad, hydro electric, hydroelectric project, jammu and kashmir government, kashmir, member panel, mw, project promoters, punitive action, regime, river chenab, shock, state government, turbines, underground powerhouse