Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Wednesday reallocated a multi-million dollar hydropower project, that was under litigation, to Reliance Energy Ltd, an official said here.
The cabinet agreed to allot 960 MW Jhangi-Thopan-Powari Hydel Project in Kinnaur district to Reliance Energy Ltd, a government spokesperson told IANS.
He said that if Reliance Energy does not accept the offer, the project may be re-advertised for fresh bidding.
The cabinet meeting was chaired by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
The Thopan-Powari-Jangi hydropower project, one of the most viable ones, requires an investment of over Rs.7,000 crore and aims to generate 4,000 million units per year.
It requires at least nine years for the project to go on stream, say government officials.
The project was earlier allotted to Netherlands-based Brakel Corp in 2008. It later included Adani Power as a consortium partner in the project.
But the Himachal Pradesh High Court annulled it on October 7, 2009, on a plea by Reliance Infrastructure, one of the bidders.
Brakel moved the Supreme Court but withdrew to pursue remedies suggested by the apex court in its order on April 1 last year.
Reliance Infra’s petition challenging the state’s decision not to allot the project to it is pending in the apex court. The high court wanted the state government to take a “fresh decision as to whether it wants to re-advertise the project or wants to act on the basis of the old tender”.
Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat on Sunday expressed concern over the rise in drug addiction, particularly among the youth in the state, and called for concerted efforts to tackle the menace.
“Effective steps have been taken by the government and police administration, but we all need to work together in this direction,” he said at the inauguration of the centuries-old Lavi Fair in Rampur town, which was once a centre of barter trade with Tibet.
He called upon the people to promote natural farming. The state government has made a provision of Rs 25 crore to promote natural or organic farming to produce chemical-free food.
The 400-year-old Lavi Fair has undergone a sea change with the rural folk’s changing lifestyles and aspirations, resulting in a greater sale of gadgets and automobiles than traditional items such as farm implements, livestock and dry fruits.
The fair dates back to the time when Raja Kehari Singh of Rampur Bushahr state signed a treaty to promote trade with Tibet.
Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan, Tibet and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.
“People have stopped buying farm implements, horses and sheep. Now, they prefer to shop luxury goods like television sets and automobiles,” trader Ishwar Goyal told IANS.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will preside over the concluding session of the fair on November 14.
Another trader Deepak Negi said Rampur was a centre of trade before the 1962 India-China war.
The traders from Tibet used to bring raw wool, butter, herbs and leather products and bartered them for wheat, rice, farm implements and livestock.
“Now, the traders from across the border have stopped coming. Indian multinational companies come here to sell their products. The fair has largely lost its relevance,” he added.
A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair. The main attraction during the exhibition were the Chamurthi horses – an endangered species known as the ‘Ship Of the Cold Desert’. Being a surefooted animal, it is mainly used for transporting goods in the Himalayas.