Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Tuesday offered to seek a CBI probe into allegations that the previous Congress government granted undue favours and concessions to leading hydro-power company Jaypee,after a sitting Congress MLA and former minister raised the issue in the state Assembly. There are accusations that the then Congress government granted a two-year extension for the commissioning of the 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo project without levying any extension charges in 2007,only a few days before the BJP returned to power.
Significantly the demand for the CBI probe was made in the state Assembly by G S Bali – a former Congress minister and now a sitting party MLA ,who alleged that the company had extracted huge financial favours by getting a supplementary agreement signed. Bali said the states interests have been compromised to benefit the company.
Its a scam running into thousands of crores,which may eventually turn into lakhs of crores in a small state. Will the chief minister order a CBI probe as to how the company managed to get the project without competitive bidding,caused delay in completion and later increased its installed power generation capacity unilaterally , he insisted.
On his demand,Dhumal reminded the MLA that it was his own party that doled out the favours to the company by signing a supplementary agreement on December 19,2007 – a day after the assembly polling. Through this agreement,the company was given a two years extension for the Scheduled Commercial Operation Date (SCOD) to November 18,2011 without paying any extension charges. The earlier date for the SCOD fixed by the BJP government had been November 18,2009.
As a result the company is now asking for incentives for early commissioning of the project. Besides this,the Congress government also saved the company Rs 22 crores – which was recoverable under the local area development,relief and rehabilitation,insurance and finance charges from the cost of the project for deviations, he said. Initially,Dhumal tried to convince Bali to give up the demand for a CBI probe by claiming that most facts about the violations were crystal clear from the records but when the Congress MLA struck to his demand,the chief minister relented. All right,if you make a demand in writing,I will accept it,he said.
On the enhancement of capacity by the company in violation of the agreement,the chief minister said the agreement for the project was signed in 1993 during the Governors rule without following the competitive bidding route. Later,the BJP government had signed an agreement with the company for 1,000 MW capacity project.
The company has since enhanced the capacity of the project beyond 1,000 MW by almost 25 percent,Dhumal said before adding that the government has constituted a technical committee to look into the issue and appropriate action will be taken in the matter.