The Telegraph
Saturday , August 2 , 2014
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NHPC projects face closure in Northeast
- Company likely to wind up operations

Jorhat, Aug. 1: The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation is likely to wind up its operations in the region, including the Lower Subansiri 2000MW project at Gogamukh in Lakhimpur district, following the shift of number of its employees recently.

Since the Lower Subansiri project came to a standstill in 2011, the company has been facing an annual loss of Rs 1,200 crore.

A source said the transfer of Ronnel Kumar, the executive director of NHPC based in Itanagar to Guwahati, and the shift of a large number of employees from the Lower Subansiri dam site signalled the way the wind was blowing.

“Recently, 30 employees have been transferred out and since the work was stopped in November 2011, the company is facing an annual loss of Rs 1, 200 crore, over and above the Rs 6,800 crore already invested, the total being about Rs 10,000 crore till date,” the source said.

There are nearly 340 employees still at the site, of the 500 initially posted there.

“Ronnel Kumar has been transferred to Guwahati to liase with the various organisations and the government but if this does not work, the company will pull out from all the projects by 2015,” the source further said.

The company makes an annual net profit of about Rs 2,500 crore from its projects all over India.

“Of this, if the Lower Subansiri takes away Rs 1,200 crore, then no company can survive like this. The employees are fed up with the prolonged talks and inaction by the government. If there is no headway soon the project will be wound up,” the source said.

The NHPC was supposed to undertake three 3,000MW projects in Arunachal Pradesh and two more — the 1,500MWUpper Subansiri and 2,000MW Middle Subansiri — by private companies in the state.

“The last two were given by the Arunachal Pradesh government to other private players but they, too, have left after seeing the plight of NHPC. With the raw material and other equipment not being allowed to be transported to the sites, everything has come to a standstill,” the source said.

The closure of the Lower Subansiri project in Dhemaji district would mean the retrenchment of about 900 contractual labourers and about 200 drivers.

The NHPC has also decided to wind up its skill-development programmes among the unemployed and other CSR activities.

“The BJP government in the Centre had directed that work should start within a week but the widespread agitation by KMSS and other organisations and the failure of the state government to facilitate the transportation of material to the site clearly shows that the project cannot be started,” he further said

The source said the closure of the project would mean the closing of a big market in Dhemaji and Lakhimpur, unemployment and of course non generation of sufficient electricity to power industries, schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions — in a nutshell — negative development.

Executive director of Lower Subansiri, Rakesh, confirmed that the compnay was incurring huge losses. “We have suffered a loss of about Rs 1,200 crore in the last two years. If the situation does not improve, the authorities will have to take a call,” Rakesh said.

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