Wednesday, October 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


Hydro-power development in Himachal

OVER a period of time there have been a number of news items regarding rapid hydro development taking place in Himachal and the benefits it will accrue to the state. There is some truth in this and the present dispensation has been quite liberal in striking deals with the private and central sectors in awarding projects of their liking to them.

However, if one were to examine state’s own contribution to the power generation, it is dismal. The total installed capacity under the state’s own control and created by the state’s own effort is stagnating around 300MW for a decade now. The state electricity board does not have a say in the selection of the projects it wants to execute and is being forced to execute projects which have been found to be expensive by the private sector and declined.

To give an example Sainj (100 MW) in Kulu is a more cost-efficient project than the Larji hydro electric project in Mandi district, which is being executed by the HPSEB. Whereas, Larji was investigated and politely declined by the private sector, Sainj has been lapped up. Similarly, UHL-III in Mandi district is less cost-efficient than Malana-II in Kulu district. The story is the same in this case too. Whereas Malana-II had a lot of suitors from the private sector, UHL-III is a private sector project.



In fact, these decisions of the HP govt will lead to higher investments of Rs 300-500 crore in the execution of these projects, aimed at creation of a capacity of 226 MW, compared to other projects having same amount of energy and power. The HPSEB could have executed Malana-II, Sainj and Sorang instead. This translates as an extra loan burden of Rs 600 to 1,000 per Himachali (there are six million of us), which he will have to service as higher power tariff. The malaise cuts across political lines. There is another albatross around the HPSEB’s neck in the shape of Dhamwari Sunda near Rohru in Shimla district.

Another effect of this crumb-picking approach being followed in the allocation of HEPs to the state sector in contrast to the cherry-picking approach of the private sector is that the generation costs for the state sector projects will be around 100% higher, thus further undermining the state sector further. This is already apparent in case of Malana-I and Larji. Thus while I am waiting with bated breath for the hydro Eldora do in 2008 when Himachal will get 2000 crore annually, I am deeply disappointed in what we are doing to be party to the promised gold rush.

GOPAL SINGH, Tang Narwana (Kangra)

Donation to nation

THIS refers to Mr R.K. Kaushik’s write-up “Donation to nation” (Oct 12). With due respect to the writer, this article of some foolish character Santoo wasting time of the administration at a crucial juncture of the Indo-China war and making a mockery of the process of donating to the nation was far from being humorous and witty. God save a nation if a few more characters like Santoo exist who do not have anything to give but false promises only. That such an article could find publication in a newspaper as reputed and esteemed as yours was disappointing.

Dr SUNET KOHLI, Milwaukee, USA



Incorrect reports

“No justice for racial abuse victims in UK” by Reeta Sharma appears to be based uncritically on reports which are posted on the website of the National Civil Rights Movement. An organisation that campaigns for civil rights for minorities or others is obviously noble, unfortunately as with so many similarly self-professed noble organisations, the National Civil Rights Movement is no such thing. The two reports quoted by Ms Sharma are misleading, the second outrageously so.

To take the first report first, Lakhvinder Reel died in October 1997, not October 1977 — an obvious typo. It is by no means certain that this youth was murdered; he disappeared after splitting from three friends. According to later reports, the four of them were attacked or abused by two white youths. As no weapons appear to have been involved in this incident, as the alleged attackers were outnumbered, and as Reel and his friends were drinking — ie. alcohol — the claim that the four were in fear of their lives is to be treated with great reserve.

The best evidence indicates that Reel fell in the river while urinating. The inquest jury returned an open verdict partly due to pressure by campaigners, and partly due to the fact that the cause of death could not be properly determined. This means exactly what it says it means, cause of death unknown. In spite of this, Mrs Reel in particular continues to claim both that her son was murdered and that his murder was racially motivated. Although this is understandable, one should not allow a mother’s grief, and possible sense of guilt, to poison race relations.

The behaviour of the police in this case is rather typical of their behaviour in similar cases regardless of the race of the victim, although I would not like to comment on this further.

The report on the case of Satpal Ram and the murder of Clarke Pearce (note the spelling) is not just misleading but overtly mendacious. Satpal Ram was not attacked by Pearce or by anyone else; he stabbed his victim in the back in a drunken frenzy, gloated over him as he lay dying, then fled the scene of the crime with the murder weapon in his hand. The motive for this senseless murder appears to have been a comment the victim made about the background music being played in the restaurant at the time.

Mr Ram and his supporters have spread outrageous lies about this case, the most obscene of which is that the victim was responsible for his own death by refusing medical treatment. The plain truth is that Mr Pearce was in no position to refuse medical treatment. He certainly did not discharge himself from hospital (an admitted lie) but died on the operating table less than two hours after the attack.

Ram was parolled in June of this year, but instead of counting his blessings he is now railing at the then Home Secretary (now Foreign Secretary) Jack Straw who blocked his release, obviously concerned that a dangerous and unrepentant thug was being turned loose on the public.

The true, documented, irrefutable facts of Regina v Ram can be found on the website below: http://www. Among other things this site contains the Court of Appeal transcripts from 1989 and 1995.

A BARON, Sydenham, London

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