HPSEB at risk of losing Rs 550 Crore due to project delays, emp union urges swift action
Shimla, Nov 25
The Himachal Pradesh Electricity Board Employees Union has cautioned the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government about a 550 crore grant that might be lost due to excessive delays in completion. The HPSEB Ltd owns four power projects allotted to the board in the year 2013.
Board Union leader Hira Lal said that four small power projects were given to the Electricity Board for construction work. The Board has prepared reports for these projects, completed forest clearances, land acquisitions, and managed finances with a German company through the Central Government. Funding for these projects is being provided by the German company M/s KFW. An agreement has been signed between the Central Government, including a grant of Rs 550 crore to the Board if these projects are completed within the stipulated time, he stated.
It is noteworthy that in the month of June, these four projects were taken from the Electricity Board and given to the Power Corporation. Later, in August, with the intervention of the Chief Minister, these projects were returned to the Electricity Board for construction work.
In a press statement issued here, Hira Lal stated that there is unnecessary delay in the construction work, and due to this, the central grant of Rs 550 crore may be lost. The union accused government officials of not following the orders issued by the Chief Minister and of still attempting to snatch these projects from the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board.
He mentioned that all agreements and land acquisitions have been done with the Electricity Board, and there are many intricacies involving accounting, corporate ministry, and legal matters. If transferred to any other Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), these projects would not be completed on time under any circumstances, resulting in the lapse of the money as well.
In August 2023, four power projects—Sai Kothi-I (15 MW), Sai Kothi-II (18 MW), Devi Kothi (16 MW), and Hail (18 MW)—were handed over to HPSEBL for execution under the pressure of the employee union.
Employees said that the board management is run with an ad hoc chairman and managing director, and important decisions pertaining to these projects have been pending for the last 4 months. Further delay may result in the lapse of the Rs 550 crore grant.
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