SHIMLA: The 1,000 MW Karchham-Wangtoo hydro power project of Jaypee Group has run into rough weather with Kinnaur Local Area Development Committee (LADC) adopting a tough stand over recovery of Rs 82 crore of local area development funds from the company. As the company has missed the deadline by one month, LADC has issued a week’s notice to recover the pending dues. If the amount is not deposited, the state government would be approached with a request to cancel the project.

A week’s notice was given to company officials around two days back at a meeting between company officials and LADC chairman and Kinnaur MLA Jagat Singh Negi. As public resentment against the company is growing, LADC has decided to act tough against the company for recovery of pending dues.

During the previous BJP regime, the policy was changed to include the cost of works carried out by the company under LADF, Negi said. Between 2007 and 2013, Jaypee Group had deposited only Rs 20 crore while Rs 82 crore was pending since 2011, he said.

“We have given a week’s time to deposit the pending amount of Rs 82 crore. If the company does not deposit the money, the state government would be requested to cancel the project,” he said.

Negi said that LADC in its last meeting has decided that cost of works done without taking the approval of LADC cannot be included in LADF. In the first meeting of LADC in 2007, the company was duly informed that they have not taken prior approval for works, he said.

Last year, then chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had informed the state assembly that Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corporation Ltd, which runs the 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo hydroelectric project in Kinnaur district, has yet to pay Rs 33 crore and that process is on to recover this amount. The government had calculated Rs 103 crore due from Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corporation Ltd under LADF, of which it has paid around Rs 69.95 crore.

The LADC claimed that after change of government, instead of Rs 33 crore, the project has to actually pay Rs 82 crore. As per policy, after 2006, no project can execute works without the approval of LADC. The previous BJP regime had made some changes in the policy, but in the last LADC meeting, the company was clearly informed that works carried without approval cannot be included in LADF.

He said the company has also not made payments under various other heads and there is resentment among people in project affected areas. Around Rs 13 crore is to be paid to four panchayats in the project affected areas under pollution norms, while around 18 panchayats have to be paid roughly around Rs 50 crore under pollution and forest rights head, he said. “Damages caused due to construction work like tunneling amounts to Rs 3-4 crore, which too has not been paid,” he added.

Kinnaur deputy commissioner Captain J M Pathania said that during the last LADC meeting, company officials had maintained that they have already spent huge amounts on developmental works in the project affected areas and as such, the LADC should consider those works too while calculating the amount under LADF. Company officials said that the LADC policy was framed in 2010 while the project was cleared before that.

“Company officials also said that there are other issues which should be considered while calculating the project expenses. They wanted components like insurance, interest on loan and other factors should be considered while calculating the cost of project,” he said.

When contacted, Jaypee Group spokesman Askar Zaidi said he will comment on the issue after collecting information from company officials in Kinnaur, but did not answer calls made on his cellphone later.