Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Developer challenges High Powered Committee’s reiteration of scrapping of 3 North Sikkim hydel projects VISHNU NEOPANEY

GANGTOK, 11 May: Project Developer Chungthang Hydro Power has challenged the order passed by the High Powered Committee. In its petition to the High Court, the project developers have alleged that the Committee’s recommendation for withdrawal of the projects was “grossly arbitrary, violates natural justice and is unreasoned”.
According to the power developer, the High Power Committee has also violated the direction passed by the High Court of Sikkim to consider or hear the petitioner’s grievances before passing a fresh order.
The state government had awarded three hydel projects 99 MW Bop hydroelectric project, 99 MW Bhimkang Hydroelectric Power Project, 99 MW Lachung Hydroelectric Power Project to Polyplex Corporation India Private Limited of Chandigarh under three different names [M/s Chungthang Hydro Power Limited, Teesta Hydro Power Limited and Lachung Hydro Power Limited].
All three projects were scrapped by the state government on 10 May 2012.
The project developer challenged the scrapping in the High Court and last year, the High Court directed the State government to constitute a High Powered Committee and pass a ‘reasoned fresh order’ after hearing the power developer.
This Committee was headed by the Chief Secretary and also had Principal Chief Secretary Finance, Revenue & Expenditure, Development Commissioner, Principal Secretary Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management department and Principal Chief Engineer-cum Secretary Power & Energy Department.
The committee passed a fresh order after a hearing held on 12 March, wherein, according to the power developer, “nothing significant transpired except brief recapitulation of the submissions made so far as requested by the members of the High Powered Committee”.    
The fresh order states that delay in completion of the project had caused a huge loss to the state exchequer in terms of the provision of free electricity as promised by the developer and huge cost overrun of the project as a whole due to the immense delay, thereby putting the economic viability of the project in question.
The High Powered Committee stated that “…immense delay in implementation of these could now lead to huge cost overruns and put the economic viability of the projects in question and hence these projects may be considered for withdrawal from the existing promoters in public interest”.
The project developer has now returned to the High Court challenging the fresh order as well.

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