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Karnataka becomes minority partner…

The government of India’s southern Karnataka state has decided to hand over three of its operating hydro power plants to a new company in which the state government would only become a minority partner.

The hydro power plants, which date back to the first half of the 20th century, are the oldest in the state. They are the 42MW ShivaSamudram plant; the 120MW Jog falls; and the 17.2MW Shimshapura plant.

The plants were owned and managed by the state-owned Karnataka Electricity Board (KEB) but during restructuring in 1999, KEB was abolished and its transmission and distribution functions were entrusted to a new state-owned utility, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation.

KEB’s plants will be taken over by another company in which the state government will give 51% equity to a private partner selected through global bidding. This will also expedite the upgrading and refurbishment of the plants which KEB has delayed due to a lack of funds.

…as Jammu & Kashmir takes over hydro

Chief minister Farooq Abdullah of the Indian state

of Jammu & Kashmir has announced that the state will take over the implementation of two hydro projects from the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation.

Arrangements are currently being made to fund the construction of the Baglihar and Sawalakot projects. The Baglihar project is expected to generate 450MW, while Sawalakot will generate 600MW. Other projects which were considered for implementation by the state were Kishenganga (330MW), Uri II (280MW), and Sewa II (120MW). The chief minister said that new projects were expected to add 130MW of capacity during the current 9th plan and another 1000MW during the 10th plan period, at an estimated cost of US$1.8B.