Power paradox: Several projects defunct, proposals pending for years

Power paradox: Several projects defunct, proposals pending for years

Generation plans take hit as Govt looks other way

For the past 28 months J&K government has failed to resume work on 850-MW Rattle power project in Kishtwar district after the company executing it left the construction midway.

The Hyderabad-based GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited gave up the work in July 2014 following the “controversy over tariff rates”. The Rs 6000 crore project, coming up on BOOT pattern (with time period of 35 years) has been described by experts the “ideal” hydropower project the state Power Development Corporation (PDC) would own.

The Rattle however isn’t the only project that has taken a hit, courtesy official apathy. While some projects, which had developed faults years ago, continue to lie defunct, a number of new hydropower projects conceived decades back are yet to be awarded for execution.

The 9-MW Sewa hydropower project, set up on Ravi River in Jammu, was commissioned in 2002 and is located downstream the NHPC-owned 120-MW Sewa-II. The project with three units of 3-MWs each became defunct in 2013 after a breach in its canal due to floods in Ravi.

Though renovation of the project was discussed on several meetings by PDC, which owns the project, and State Government during past three years, nothing substantial has been done to make it functional, resulting in substantial financial loss to power deficient J&K.

Besides, the renovation of 7.5 MW Chennai-III, which had developed snags in electro mechanical works a few years ago, continues to be ignored by the government while as the 37.50-MW Parnai power Project in Poonch district which was taken up for execution almost 20 years ago is far off from completion.

“The turbine and shaft of the project (Chennai) had some problems which haven’t been rectified yet,” said a source.

The 93-MW New Ganderbal, which was conceived in late 80s and formally announced in 1996, is yet to be awarded for execution. In 2014 after repeated delays on its construction, a private firm won the bid for the project, but there has been no progress on awarding it till date.

Similar is the fate of other projects including 1850-MW Sawlakote, 390 MW Kirthai-I, 930-MW Kirthai-II, 280-MW Ujh projects which were conceived years ago.

A run-of-the-river project Sawlakote remained surrounded in controversies since 1997 when the then National Conference government offered it to limited bidding.

One of the oldest Hydel power plants in south-Asia, 9-MW Mohra power project, which is located in Uri town of north Kashmir, is lying defunct since 1992 after it was affected by floods. Left ignored and defunct, the flume of the project has decayed and the machinery has corroded under rust.

Though the state government has time and again said that it would prepare a detailed project report for renovating the project which was constructed by European engineers in 1902-03 on the left bank of river Jhelum at Boniyar, there has been no progress on the proposal.

A senior government official said the lack of planning on part of the government was the reason for “little progress" in generation sector.

“Instead of focusing on one project at a time the government continues to talk about all these projects and that is where the problem lies. In a situation when the resources are meager the priority has to be meticulous planning and that is what has been missing,” said the source.

A senior official however said the issues related to New Ganderbal power project have been resolved and the cabinet would now take decision on its awarding in the next meeting. Regarding other projects he said Sawlakote had first got mired into litigation and then there were issues regarding enhancement in its capacity from 600-MW to 1850-MW.

“It is now in the final stage and we are awaiting clearance from the CEA,” the official said, adding the PDC has initiated action against the contractor of Rattle under power purchase agreement and they expect to resolve issues in next one month.

However he agreed that the issues related to the defunct power projects were yet to be resolved.