The Himachal Pradesh government is going to float global tender for the 960 MW Jangi-Thopan-Powari hydro power project proposed at Satluj basin in Kinnaur district. The state power department has taken the decision to invite global bids for this mega project within next three months. For the past 10 years, issue of allocating project had been hanging fire and residents of panchayats to be affected were also opposing it.
Sources said the department had forwarded the file related to the allotment of project to the state government and a final decision on the mode of allotment would be taken soon.
Himachal power minister Anil Sharma confirmed the development.
Around 10 years back, project was allotted to a company but the matter reached courts. Sources said that allotment of project is going to be a litmus test for chief minister Jai Ram Thakur as previous two governments headed by Virbhadra Singh and Prem Kumar Dhumal had failed get to rolling. Tender for the project was fist floated in 2006 and during last 12 years, project allocation had remained a challenge for the state government.
Earlier, the project was allotted to Brakel Corporation for two separate units of 480 MW each as Jangi-Thopan and Thopan-Powari through competitive global bidding process. However, later the state cabinet decided to call for bids again for the Jangi-Thopan and Thopan-Powari projects as a single Jangi-Thopan-Powari project of 960 MW capacity as per the new hydel policy.
In July 2013, the cabinet decided to go for the rebidding for the allotment of Jangi-Thopan-Powari project after its allotment run into rough weather following legal dispute.
In September 2015, the government decided to refund the upfront premium of Rs 280 crore in lieu of Jangi-Thopan (480MW) and Thopan-Powari (480MW) hydel projects to Adani Power Limited. Later, the government took a U-turn on its decision.
Residents from seven affected panchayats of Jangi, Rarang, Murang, Spillo, Lippa, Rispa and Purbani are opposing the project on the ground that area falls under seismic zone and despite this a mega project is being set up. They say Kinnaur is located close to China border and construction of hydro project would raise security concerns.
Last year in February, they had gathered at Akpa under the banner of Him Lok Jagriti Manch to oppose the project. They said that if state government would allocate the project ignoring the local opposition then residents of affected panchayats would launch 'Chipko Movement'.