J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday announced the Ratle Hydroelectric Project has been cleared by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Terming it as a historical decision for making J&K a power-surplus UT, Sinha thanked the Prime Minister approving the much-awaited 850 MW project at an investment of Rs 5,282 crore.
Mentioning the “lacklustre” approach of the earlier governments towards this important project, he said that Jammu and Kashmir was deprived of this mega project for long because the previous regimes were “scared” to move ahead due to Pakistan’s threats of going to international court for arbitration, and making representations in the World Bank.
“But, today the nation is under the strong and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is taking bold decisions for the welfare of the people of J&K and has ensured that this project sees the light of the day, besides also providing equity contribution support to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
“J&K is witnessing unprecedented growth and development in every sector; we are unlocking J&K’s potential to be self-reliant in the energy sector within a short span of time,” the Lt Governor said.
Highlighting the key features of the mega project, Sinha said that apart from making J&K energy sufficient, the project will create 4,000 jobs in J&K, directly & indirectly, and will contribute to overall socio-economic development. In addition, the Kwar project (540 MW) has been decided to be taken up. This will result in an investment of Rs 4,264 crore and create more than 2,000 jobs in the UT, he added.
The Lt Governor said that four more projects (Kirthai-II (930MW), Sawalkot (1,856MW), Uri-I (Stage-II) (240MW) and Dulhasti (Stage-II) (258MW) involving an investment of Rs 31,000 crore have also been decided to be taken up. These projects, together with the two ongoing projects of Pakaldul (1,000 MW) and Kiru (624MW) on Chenab river and its tributaries will result in an investment of about Rs 52,821 crore and create more than 12,000 jobs in the Union Territory.
To train the local people, the Ministry of Power and Ministry of Skill Development propose to set up training centres near the project sites in collaboration with NHPC Ltd, so that they can be employed in the projects, he added.
Noting that from Independence upto 2018, projects of only around 3,500 MW had been set up in J&K, he said that against this, their government has taken up projects with capacity of 6,300 MW to be set up in the UT in the next five years.
“This will make UT of J&K self reliant in power, lead to faster growth and development of UT of J&K and create a minimum 12,000 jobs directly and indirectly. Such large scale investment has never happened in the past,” he said.