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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How Dy CM booted out Power Secretary for not signing illegal PPA with a dubious firm

A timeline of the IAS officer’s intimidation by Prime Minister Modi’s Baglihar host

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 3: Principal Secretary Power Sandeep Nayak, who refused to sign an illegal Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a Jammu-based joint venture, was unceremoniously removed on October 19 when Dy Chief Minister and Power Minister Dr Nirmal Singh threatened to resign in case the IAS officer was not shifted from Power Development Department (PDD). Following is a timeline of the key developments from 2013 to 2015 November:

March 22, 2013
Science & Technology (S&T) Department of J&K government accords sanction to a five-member project approval committee to be headed by Commissioner-Secretary Science & Technology.

April 9, 2013
Without ascertaining  the applicant company’s experience in solar power generation and management, financial strength and ownership of the land as per guidelines of  the union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, S&T Department communicates approval to Chennai-based Thein India Energy Pvt Ltd (TIE) for setting up 100 mw grid connected photovoltaic solar power plant at Chann Arrorian, Kathua and advises the company to approach Power Development Department (PDD) for facilitation of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

June 20, 2013
S&T Department communicates to PDD that TEI has been approved for setting up the solar plant in Kathua. It requests PDD to initiate process for making PPA with TIE and requests DC Kathua to demarcate the land which TIE claims to acquire from a private source under rules.

September 2, 2013
Chief Engineer Systems & Operations (CESO) wing of PDD informs Power Commissioner about his team’s visit to the site to explore inter-connectivity. The team suggests inter-connectivity with 132-KV double-circuit Gladni-Hiranagar line for evacuation of the energy generated by the plant. “…decision needs to be taken immediately for bringing up infrastructure at 132 KV level for clubbing the generation from solar plant and PDD System,” the communication reads. “Investment required in this regard and estimation etc. shall be taken up separately with representatives of Independent Power Producer (IPP).”

October 4, 2013
S&T Department advises TIE to execute an “open access agreement” with PDD under the conditions laid down in J&K State Electricity Regulatory Commission – JKSERC (Open Access In Intra-state transmission and distribution) regulation act, 2006”. Under the Open Access agreement, independent power producers (IPPs) have right to wheel the energy to whichever destination they want at a fee. In J&K, three existing IPPs, owning three small power projects are using this facility to sell their energy to the Power Trading Corporation (PTC) of Government of India. PDD does not purchase their power for its being “expensive”.

April 21, 2015
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed takes the first review meeting of S&T and Information Technology (IT) Departments. Deputy CM and Power Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu, S&T Minister Sajjad Lone, IT Minister Imran Ansari and concerned administrative secretaries attend the meeting. On Sajjad Lone’s suggestion, CM desires PDD to facilitate PPA agreement at the rates issued, if any, by SERC. Drabu observes that PDD’s buying of solar power from TIE would a “challenging task” for its being expensive.  S&T Secretary pushes the proposal with the argument that State was bound to purchase solar power to the extent of 1.5% of the energy demand in 2015-16 “irrespective of the cost of energy”.  PDD is directed to constitute a high level committee for making draft of the State’s “Comprehensive Power Purchase Policy”

June 30, 2015:
Chief Executive Officer J&K Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) advises TIE Chennai to take up the matter of signing of PPA with SERC and PDD. On the same day, TIE Chennai urges Principal Secretary Power Sandeep Nayak to initiate the process of signing the PPA.

July 7, 2015
Government constitutes 6-member committee for formulation of comprehensive Power Purchase Policy draft vide Government Order No: 140-PDD of 2015 with Principal Secretary Power as its Chairman. With 14 terms of reference, committee is asked to submit its recommendations within 6 weeks.

July 21, 2015
TIE Chennai makes its Kauthua plant a Joint Venture with Venayak Energy (VE) Jammu. The joint venture is named as Then Venayak Energy (TVE). As per the agreement, TIE will contribute 10% of the total investment  and own only 10% of the profit. Venayak holds 90% share and declares one Adil Mustafa Khan as its representative. The agreement is signed by Anirudh Chandel of Pacca Danga on behalf of TIE and Amarjeet Singh of Nanak Nagar on behalf of VE.

July 23, 2015
First meeting of PPP draft committee takes place. It decides to call three existing IPPs for presentation. Now a new “representative” Adil Khan surfaces on behalf of TVE and asks Principal Secretary Power Sandeep Nayak to initiate steps t for signing of PPA (without waiting for PPP committee’s draft and its subsequent approval by Cabinet).

July 24, 2015
TVE requests CM to direct PDD “to carry on with PPA at the earliest”.

July 31, 2015
Second meeting of PPP draft committee convened. Committee asks Government to surrender costly power of Central Generating Stations. CE Commercial & Survey asked to submit her first report within a week. On the same day, Deputy Director Planning in CM’s Secretariat Madan Gopal Sharma forwards TVE’s letter to Principal Secretary PDD and urges him to address the issues involving signing of PPA.

August 6, 2015
Without waiting for PPP draft and its adoption by Cabinet, TVE “representative” Adil Khan submits a 16-page PPA---all pages signed by him---to Principal Secretary Power Nayak and asks him to sign it. Khan claims he has made so-called PPA on the copy of an IPP’s agreement with West Bengal government. Significantly, within an hour on the same day, Dy CM and Power Minister Nirmal Singh’s OSD Shakti Pathak writes a note, flagged as MOST URGENT, to Principal Secretary Power Nayak and directs him on behalf of Dy CM “to take immediate necessary steps regarding signing the PPA with the developer..” With the PPP draft still awaited, Nayak seeks opinion from CE Commercial & Survey Wing of PDD Ms Shehnaz Goni.

[To be concluded tomorrow]

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