Series of power project clearances for Uttarakhand
While, the Supreme Court continues its stay on 24 hydroelectric power projects in the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi Basins with an installed capacity of 3,065 MW, the Uttarakhand Government has shifted focus on getting clearances from the Centre for other projects across the State. In a major step towards restarting work on stalled projects, work on the 5,600 MW Pancheshwar multipurpose project, which was stalled for over 18 years, started after the proposal to restart work was discussed during the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala, in August. The proposed 5,600 MW dam is to be built on the Indo-Nepal border in Champawat district.
The 300-MW Lakhwar project, which is located in the Upper Yamuna River Basin in Dehradun district, is another project for which the State government has been striving to attain clearance. However, after being delayed under the Congress regime at the Centre, the project is set to attain final clearance after which the project work would begin. Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said: “The investment clearance for the Lakhwar project is expected within two to three weeks after which we could begin construction work at the project site.”
The project had received clearance in 1986 when it was under Uttar Pradesh’s Irrigation Department. Work continued till about 1992. The project work was later transferred to the Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL). A change in the authority undertaking the project required a new clearance, which is what the State Government was trying to seek. The project work was stalled even after 30 per cent work was already complete.
Work on a project proposed on the Tons river – 660 MW Kishau multi-purpose dam – was caught in disputes which were recently resolved by the Centre. The Centre agreed to bear 90 percent cost of power component of the project. The Centre also dismissed Himachal’s demand of a 50 per cent share in the enhanced power that would be generated in the existing downstream projects due to the project. In another development, the State government has proposed to restart work on the 600 MW Loharinag Pala HEP on the Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi district. The project was scrapped in the year 2010. The State government has suggested for the project to be a joint venture between the State government and the NTPC Limited – the agency that was undertaking constructing of the project before it got scrapped. Mr. Kumar said the Centre had not cleared the Loharinag Pala project for reconstruction but, talks were underway.
Clearance for the 300-MW Bawla Nandprayag project on the Alaknanda in Chamoli district would soon be attained, Mr. Kumar said, adding that public hearing had been conducted for the project and the locals had given their approval for it.