Himachal Cabinet Nod For Fresh Bids To 960 MW Hydropower Project

Shimla: Laying out fresh norms for allotting fair price shops, the Himachal cabinet today gave the go ahead for inviting fresh bids for a delayed large hydropower project, relaxed the norms for completion of Jakhu ropeway and approved setting up a special unit for acquiring land for a four lane highway to Manali.

Presided over by chief minister Virbhadra Singh the cabinet decided to invite global bids for the 960 MW Jangi-Thopan-Powari hydroelectric project to be set on Satluj River.

In an earlier bidding round in 2006, the project was allotted to Brakel Corporation, a small company registered in Holland but came unstuck as the winning bid was contested by rival companies in court.

Stalled for many years for having violated high rise building norms in the city, the cabinet today permitted relaxation for the Jakhu ropeway project.

HP Cabinet Meet
HP Cabinet Meet

A cabinet spokesman disclosed that the relaxation has been included for 6 non habitable floors and in height of the building. Earlier the contentious structure was permitted 11 floors but now is expected to have 13 floors marking it as the tallest concrete structure in the city.

The cabinet also approved construction of a multilevel parking at Tutikandi. The 11 storey building will have parking facility on its 8 floors besides two floors would be used for office and one for restaurant.

Towards four laning of the Ner Chowk-Kullu-Manali road, the cabinet approved setting up of a special land acquisition unit at Pandoh, Mandi to speed up the process of acquiring land for the ambitious project.

The cabinet also decided to invite applications for allotment of self identified or identified hydropower projects that has a generation potential of upto 5 MW.

The cabinet cancelled the Baggi Nallah Small Hydel Electric Project (SHEP) and Ghayagi project falling in district Mandi and Kullu respectively but decided to restore cancellation of Joiner II (3MW) project in district Chamba. It was also agreed to extend commercial operation date of small hydroelectric projects.

Fresh consolidated guidelines for opening of new fair price shops were approved by the cabinet whereby preference of allotment would be given to single women, widows, mahila mandals, women cooperatives,  physically handicapped persons, ex-servicemen and unemployed persons.

The cabinet approved a proposal of not allowing any Technical and Vocational educational Institutions to make admissions in any course in violations of the prescribed norms of Central and State Regulating bodies from 2014-15 session onwards

Failing to abide by the guidelines would invite the regulatory body actions, said a cabinet spokesman.

Approval was granted to issue an no objection certificate for opening of an BSc nursing institute by Shankutla Memorial Charitable Trust Chamba that would have an annual intake of 40 students.

Nod was given to make Rajiv Gandhi Government Engineering College Kangra at Nagrota-Bagwan a constituent college of HP Technical University, Hamirpur so as to avail grant-in-aid on the analogy of Jawahar Lal Nehru Government Engineering College, Sundernagar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government Engineering College, Pragatinagar.

Cabinet approved to amend the rules for  grant-in aid to non-Government colleges.

Approval was given for starting Plumber, Mechanic (Refrigeration and Air Conditioner) and Digital Photographer trade courses at Government ITI, Shahpur in Kangra district from academic session 2014-15. It was also decided to start one new course in each of Government Polytechnics at  Rohru, Chamba and Kangra.

The cabinet put its assent on up-gradation of Kupvi Sub-Tehsil to Tehsil and opening of Sub-tehsils at Deha in Chopal and Haripur Dhar in district Sirmaur.

The cabinet approved that 50% promotional avenues for appointment in HAS will henceforth comprise of  25% from Tehsildars and 25% from other categories based on inter-se seniority, out of which 17% will be from the BDOs cadre.

The cabinet approved transferring of PWD Divisions Sarkaghat and Dharampur from administrative control 8th PWD circle Hamirpur to 1St PWD Circle Mandi. Approval was also given for creation of additional Division for NH-305 that is the Sainj-Jalori-Banjar-Aut road

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

3 Comments

  • The Cabinet decision to regularise 11 floors of the Jakhu Ropeway buiding is an outrageous exercise of state discretion, for the following reasons:
    [1] As per the original agreement signed with the company in 2007, it was only allowed eight floors, of which only two were supposed to be functional : the ground floor for reception/ticketing etc. and the top floor for housing the ropeway machinery, sitting area and a small cafeteria. The other floors were to be closed ones.( the eight floors were allowed only because they were necessary for the building to attain the required height for the ropeway). As far as I know the building plan was also approved in this manner.
    [2] The above stipulation was made because the area falls in the Shimla Green Belt where no construction is permissible: since the Ropeway was felt to be an essential infrastructure requirement which would reduce vehicular traffic to the Jakhu temple, hence only this minimum relaxation was permitted. What has now compelled the govt. to regularise these violations?
    [3] By allowing the project promoters to now utilise nine additional floors for commercial activities the Cabinet has conferred an unintended and massive financial benefit on the company which is morally repugnant and a financial misdemeanor.
    [3] It may also be illegal, because it violates the original tender specifications on the basis of which the bids were invited: it confers a post-tender advantage and benefit on this company. Had the other bidders been aware of this their bids would have been higher and the present promoter may not have bagged this project.
    [4] This is a PPP project where the revenue is shared between the govt. and the ropeway operator. The promoter’s revenues shall now increase exponentially, but has the govt. revised the Agreement to ensure that it gets its share of the additional revenue? If it has not, then why not? And if it has then on what basis?
    Actually, I am not at all surprised by the present govt’s favourable treatment of this promoter. In its earlier stint also the Congress govt. had relaxed the terms of the tender and Agreement to permit it to change its technical partner before the stipulated period of two years( from the date of commencement of operation). The succeeding Dhumal govt. had started an Inquiry into the matter but had inexplicably lost interest in it very soon!
    The Cabinet decision is not in the public interest and also lacks transparency. The Govt. should come out with a full explanation for its curious decision and not hide behind the murky veil of its sovereign powers.

  • As printed :-
    The cabinet also decided to invited applications for allotment of self identified or identified hydropower projects that had a generation potential of upto 5 MW

    Comment:-
    Due to grammar error in the sentence, the exact meaning is not conveyed.
    I want to know, invited applications were cleared OR nod was given for accepting new applications. I hope some one will clarify.

    • Naveen, the grammatical error is regretted but the cabinet decision was not about the applications which it had received but was about inviting fresh applications for small hydropower projects that fell within a maximum generation capacity of 5 MW. The cabinet approved inviting applications both for those projects which were in the self-identified category and those ones which were identified but had not been taken up by any company so far.

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