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HP Govt. gave Rs 209.28 crore undue benefits to Jaypee Powers, even allowed grave violations of rules : CAG



karcham wangtoo hydel project scam

The CAG, in its report, said that JP Power was given undue favour by the Himachal government despite finding that they violated rules and grave irregularities were found in state government’s investments in a thermal power plant that resulted in a loss of Rs 3.98 crore.

SHIMLA- The Himachal Pradesh government, despite its precarious fiscal health and high debt exceeding Rs 35,000 crore, allegedly gave undue benefits to the tune of Rs 209.28 crore to Jaypee power company, which owned the 1000 MW Karcham Wangtoo hydel project in Kinnaur district.

The project has already been sold to another power developer for which the state government had given its permission last year. The company is also accused of hiding information about the actual capacity of the hydel project.

This is one of the revelation made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its report, in which it rapped the state government’s policy to promote hydro-power sector to raise revenue against the interests of the state.

Failure of the Energy department to detect capacity addition of hydropower project in time and non-levy of Rs 209.28 crore on account of capacity addition charges, additional free power royalty and local area development fund led to extension of undue favour to the power developer,

said Ram Mohan Johri, Principal Accountant General (Audit) Himachal Pradesh here .

The findings of the CAG reveals that Karcham-Wangtoo hydel project was allotted to M/s Jaiprakash Industries Limited for an installed capacity of 900 MW through MOU route in August 1993. The CEA in March 2003 accorded techno-economic clearance to the project for an enhanced capacity of 1000 MW. The project was commissioned in May 2011 at a cost of Rs 6,903 crore.

However, in 2011, the CEA detected that the turbine of each generating unit procured by the developer were instead designed for 300 MW. Meaning that the normal continuous output thereby was of total capacity of 1200 MW, which was 20 per cent more than the rated output of the machine.

The state government constituted a Technical Committee (TC) to investigate the specific deviations in the project, which the TC confirmed in June 2013.

Despite the deviations, the company got approval for the same from the state government in 2015.

When we posed the questions to the government authorities, they admitted that the company had no Techno-economic clearance for 1200 MW and also there was failure to levy dues to the tune of Rs 209.28 crore,

Johri said.

In two other cases, the CAG has found grave irregularities in state government’s investments in a thermal power plant that resulted in a loss of Rs 3.98 crore as the project work never took off. CAG, in its report, said that the investment was made without studying its feasibility and choosing a Joint Venture Partner, EMTA, without assessing the merits. The case was being probed by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on money laundering charges as there were top government official involved .

Another irregularity of Rs 71.64 crore detected by CAG is related to grading and classification of timber sold by the HP State Forest Corporation. Grade ‘A’ timber was wrongly classified at lower variants leading to a loss of Rs 18 crore.

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Misc News/Press Release

DC Kangra confirms abduction of 3 Himachalis in Nigeria, CM seeks Centre Govt’s help



Himachali held hostages in nigeria

Shimla: The Deputy Commissioner of Kangra today confirmed that Nigerian sea pirates have held three men hailing from Kangra hostages for ransom.

The state government said it has taken up the matter with the Government of India and requested the safe release of all three hostages.

The step came after the news appeared in regional media.

The State government claimed that in a communiqué to the Western Africa Division, Ministry of External Affairs, the state government said the three youths namely Sushil Kumar, Pankaj Kumar and Ajay Kumar, who belong to Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh have been kidnapped by the Nigerian pirates as per the confirmed report.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has sought the intervention of Union government to ensure the safe release of three hostages.He hoped the union government will act fast and get the hostages released safely.

You can read the entire matter here in HW’s previous article.

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Misc News/Press Release

Govt silent over safety of 3 Himachali youth allegedly held hostages by Nigerian pirates for ransom



Himachali held hostages in nigeria

Shimla: Three youths hailing from Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district, who were serving in Merchant Navy, have reportedly ended in the hands of armed Nigerian sea pirates as hostages. The armed pirates hijacked their ship and demanded a ransom of 11 million nairas (20-22 Lakh INR) from the parents of one of the hostages.

The details are scanty as no official confirmation has been made by the State or Centre Government. It is not clear when they were abducted. 

The news broke out when Raghubir Singh (62) of Nagrota, father of one of the hostages, reached media yesterday.  

As per the information given by Raghubir, the other two men included Pankaj Kumar of Samloti and Ajay Kumar of Palampur.

The three men were currently working for a private shipping company named Max Marine Services in Cortnou Benin.

On March 12, the parents of one of the abducted youth, Susheel Sharma (37), who was the captain on the ship, received a call through a satellite phone. Susheel told the parents that he along with two others had been held hostage in some jungle. He told the parents about the pirate’s demand for ransom in exchange for their release.

On March 21, Himachal had received a shock after the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed, while speaking in the Parliament, the killing of 39 Indians in Iraq including four men from Himachal. Three of them hailed from Kangra while remaining one belonged to Mandi district.

Now, this fresh case of abduction has again jolted Kangra.

Surprisingly, as alleged by the parents, the Centre or State Government have not given any reaction to the situation.   

The district administration also said it was not aware of the situation.

The parents also alleged the shipping company of keeping them in dark whenever they contacted it to know whereabouts of their son. The owner of the ship told the parents that a negotiation was ongoing with the pirates.

However, recently, the owner stopped picking up phone calls from the aggrieved parents.  

Ultimately, the family on March 18 approached the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Prime Minister, Modi,  through a mail with their plea to intervene and rescue their son.

However, the parents allege that they did not receive any satisfactory response from anyone. 

As per the statement of the parents, Sudhir had told them that they are getting only one meal per day. The pirates will starve them to death if the ransom is not paid, Sudhir had told the parents.

Now, the parents do not trust the company anymore and have put their hope on the Government.   


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Man killed as stone rolls down hill, breaks through moving HRTC bus window in Kullu



Bizzare Bus Accident in Himachal's Kullu

Kullu: A big round stone rolled down a hill and broke through the window of a moving Himachal Pradesh Road Corporation (HRTC) bus that was heading towards Kullu from Rampur today. The accident occurred near Luhri in Kullu.  A co-passenger who was sitting beside the deceased also came in spate and received injuries.

However, the deceased, who was identified as Manohar Singh (60) of Tippal village in Anni, died on the spot.  The injured was identified as Vijay Kumar of Kumarsain. He was taken to hospital in Rampur. 

The death came from nowhere and picked up its prey within a fraction of a second, said the eyewitnesses. The stone hit Manohar right on his head, which was badly crushed.  

Other passengers were horrified by the bizarre and sudden manner the stone broke through the window like a bullet.  

A police team from Luhri rushed to the spot and took custody of the dead body.  The elected MLA Kishori Lal Sagar also arrived at the spot on hearing the tragic news. The body was later handed over to the family after the postmortem.

The district administration provided Rs. 20, 000 to the victim’s family as immediate relief. The HRTC also announced Rs. 10,000 as relief money.  

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