ALSTENG GRID STATION: Govt to go for ‘compulsory land acquisition’ to set up remaining towers

The government has decided to go for compulsory acquisition of land in Budgam district to set up transmission towers and complete a power line that would connect the Alsteng grid station in Ganderbal district with the power network in Kashmir and enhance the Valley’s energy import capacity.
ALSTENG GRID STATION: Govt to go for ‘compulsory land acquisition’ to set up remaining towers
Representational Pic

The government has decided to go for compulsory acquisition of land in Budgam district to set up transmission towers and complete a power line that would connect the Alsteng grid station in Ganderbal district with the power network in Kashmir and enhance the Valley's energy import capacity.

While the power department has completed construction of the grid and carried out its "test charge", the non-completion of some transmission towers in Budgam areas, owing to a dispute over land, has delayed their construction and, in turn, led to further delay in commissioning of the grid.

"We have decided to go for compulsory acquisition of land," said district commissioner Budgam, Syed SehrishAsgar.

She said all formalities have been completed under relevant sections of the revenue Act to handover the land to the power department.  

"Before going for the compulsory acquisition, we had to first give them (land owners) chance to quote feasible rates. But they wanted rates at Rs one crore per kanal of land against the market rate of Rs 22 lakh per kanal," said Sehrish.

According to the district commissioner, the land owners were given mandatory three chances for negotiations.  

"Since they were not ready to quote reasonable rates and the negotiations failed we are going for compulsory acquisition," Sehrish said.

The transmission line that would connect Alsteng grid with Zainakote grid comprises 158 transmission towers, of which 45 towers are in Budgam. 

While around 130 towers have been completed, the work continues on the remaining towers, excluding those stuck in the land dispute.

The grid station was approved by then Congress-led UPA government in 2006, but despite the availability of funds, its construction was delayed for almost a decade. It was only last year when Greater Kashmir published a series of stories on the issue that the then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti set a nine-month deadline for completion of all pending works in the grid and the transmission line, by November end 2018.

The power department is hopeful to complete construction work on all pending transmission towers by the middle of next month and commission the grid by end of the third week of the month, an official said.

Against peak power demand of over 1900-MW in the Valley, the department is able to handle only 1250 MW owing to system constraints. 

Once commissioned, the grid will increase power import capacity to over 1500-MW.

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