Rising Kashmir NewsSrinagar
Central Information Commission (CIC) has refused to direct NHPC to open up details of negotiations regarding the return of hydel projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
The CIC held that information about the negotiations would fall under the category of “commercial confidence” under Section 8(1)(d) of The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act).
“NHPC's efforts to maintain secrecy about the negotiations contradict the repeated assertions of the Union Ministry of Power, since March 2015 that the Central Government had rejected the 2012 recommendation of the three Interlocutors on J&K to transfer Central sector power generating projects to the State,” said Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.
“The NHPC has asserted before the CIC that the negotiations are still going on, in support of their claim to Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act. So who is speaking the truth, the citizenry has no clue,” he added.
Citing the figures about NHPC's earnings from hydel projects in J&K, he said: “NHPC supplied figures under the RTI Act to show that it had earned more than Rs. 194 billion (almost USD 3 billion at current exchange rates) by selling electricity generated from the rivers of J&K between 2001-2015. Since then, NHPC has added several more millions to its coffers earned from the rivers in J&K.”
Under the RTI Act, Nayak had sought information regarding the correspondence between Ministry of Power and Government of Jammu and Kashmir regarding the buy back of hydro power projects and documents relating to the feasibility of the proposal of buy back of the projects, including reports of any expert committee available on record.