5 years on, small hydropower projects await central funding

Image for representational purpose only.
Image for representational purpose only.File/ GK

Srinagar: The central government has not released a single penny for the construction of small hydro-power projects in Jammu and Kashmir, despite announcing an outlay of Rs 2000 crore under the Prime Minister’s Development Package.

With no allocation in the last five years, no small hydropower project could not be developed in J&K post the announcement of the PM package,” said a senior official.

An official document of the J&K government accessed by Greater Kashmir reads as “no funds sanctioned/released by GoI for SHPs under PMDP-15 till date.

"23 Small Hydro Electric Projects (SHPs) identified/selected with a total estimated cost of around Rs 3900 crore (10 SHPs of 10-25 MW: Rs. 2701.83 Cr and 13 SHPs of 2-10 MW: Rs. 1198.17 Cr). 19 DPRs prepared; 4 DPRs under finalization."

"The government of J&K vide various communications dated 12.03.2019, 31.07.2019, 22.06.2020 & 04.06.2021 has requested the MNRE, GoI for sanction of central financial assistance to the tune of 60 percent of the Project cost for each of the SHP. Meanwhile, MNRE has released Rs 5 crore on 10.09.2021 for setting up of one of the SHPs, namely Karnah (12 MW) through the erstwhile normal SHP scheme (not under PMDP). Works under Karnah project in execution."

A senior official informed that "JKPDC has initiated tendering for three more Projects which are ready for allotment. However, in the absence of clarity on the financing pattern, all further action is held up"

Despite having the capacity to generate 20000 MW of hydropower, only 3500 MW of electricity could be harnessed after 1947. Now the PM Modi-led government-sanctioned hydro projects of 3400 MW in two years. “We would generate the same amount of electricity in the next four to five years that was generated in the last seven decades,” a senior official said.

In India, hydropower plants of 25MW or below capacity are classified as small hydro, which have further been classified into micro (100kW or below), mini (101kW-2MW), and small hydro (2-25MW) segments.

The estimated potential of 21135.37 MW from 7135 sites for power generation in the country from small/mini hydel projects is assessed by the Alternate Hydro Energy Centre (AHEC) of IIT Roorkee in its Small Hydro Database of July 2016. The hilly states/UTs of India, mainly Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand, constitute around half of this potential. Other potential States are Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Kerala.

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