In agreement with a state’s right to make changes in policies that are dictated by economic needs, Himachal Pradesh High Court on rubbished a petition challenging changing a policy for allocating hydropower projects from ‘memorandum of understanding agreements’ to one of competitive bidding.

Dismissing the petition of three power companies, Aleo Manali Hydro Power Pvt Ltd, Starsilver Mercantile Co and Sinner Engineering File Works, Justice Kuldip Singh observed that larger public interest overrides individual interest, while upholding the 2009 hydro power policy of Himachal government. On economic policy matters the state cannot be forced to stick to policy framed at one point of time, the judge observed.

Senior counsel RL Sood, along with counsel Jyotsna Rewal Dua, had sought the court’s intervention for securing three power projects on basis of the earlier hydro power policy of 2006 and challenging the 2009 policy. Whereas the 2006 policy had a provision that empowered the government to allocated projects with a generation potential up to 100 MW by way of signing a memorandum of understanding agreement with the project developer, the changed 2009 policy had done away with the discretion and made it mandatory to allot all project above 5 MW of generation potential through international competitive bidding.

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