2 years on, ‘New Ganderbal’ power project hangs fire

Hopeful of a breakthrough soon, says JKPDC MD

MUDDASIR ALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 1 2017 11:42PM | Updated Date: Jan 1 2017 11:42PM
2 years on, ‘New Ganderbal’ power project hangs fireRepresentational Pic

For the past more than two years, the J&K government is delaying allotment of construction of 93-MW New Ganderbal Hydropower Project despite the Power Development Corporation (PDC) having cleared all the requisite formalities.

A Mumbai-based construction company had won the bid for the power project—announced two decades ago—in September 2014. Since then, the Government has failed to clear the allotment.

“It has been quite some time now when the PDC submitted the proposal for awarding construction of the project to the State Cabinet for its clearance,” said a senior PDC official. “We are waiting for the Cabinet decision.” The worry for the PDC, which owns the project, is that if the Government fails to take the decision in time, the delay would then necessitate seeking fresh clearance from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for the project which could further delay its execution by three to four years. Coming up on river Sindh, the New Ganderbal Project, with three units of 31-MW each, was conceived in late ‘80s but formally announced in 1996.

The “long pending issue” of allotment had come up for discussion in 72nd meeting of Board of Directors of PDC, which was chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, following which the meeting had decided to refer the matter to the Cabinet.

An official said during previous National Conference-Congress rule, it was first the negligence on part of the authorities concerned to not call the PDC Board meeting that led to delay in awarding the project. Then, the official said, the “difference” between the alliance partners, PDP and BJP, on whether Chief Minister should head the PDC Board or the Power Minister, led to the further delay.

“Then we had the Governor’s Rule and the issue got further delayed. Now when the PDC Board has cleared the issue, the cabinet, which has met a number of times since this government took over, is delaying decision on awarding the contract,” said the official.

Though there was also an argument being made that the project cost was on the “higher side” in comparison to the present market demands, the official said New Ganderbal was an affordable project and the government should explore ways and means to make it viable and attractive.

“The project cost varies from project-to-project, also depending on distance of the ‘Head’ and water discharge. The shorter the distance and more the discharge, the project cost usually is on the lower side,” said the official.

The New Ganderbal which is coming up at around Rs 1000 crore would have around 11-km tunnel and the cost of each megawatt would be roughly Rs 11 crore, said the official.

“The government can follow the Pakal Dul model wherein it has exempted the project construction from number of taxes on import of material and other things,” said the official.  

Managing Director JK PDC Shah Faesal said the administrative department is pursuing the (New Ganderbal) matter. “We are hopeful of a breakthrough soon,” he said.

 

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