Announced 26 years ago, 93-MW New Ganderbal Hydropower Project non-starter

The government’s failure to start the construction of the 93-Megawatt New Ganderbal Power Project has evoked resentment among the people here.
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Ganderbal: Announced in 1996, the work on the much-awaited 93-MW New Ganderbal Hydropower Project is in limbo as the authorities have failed to start the construction work of the power project.

Coming up on River Sindh, the New Ganderbal Hydropower Project was estimated to be completed at a cost of over Rs 800 crore.

The project was conceived as a run-of-the-river scheme on Sindh Nallah with three units of 31-MW each.

Official sources said that in 2014, a two-stage bidding process was adopted for the selection of the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor for the project in which Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) emerged as the successful bidder with a negotiated cost of Rs 819.18 crore.

However, for a variety of reasons HCC failed to implement the project till 2017.

Subsequently, the contract was cancelled.

The sources said that the Letter of Intent (LoI) to HCC was issued under a cabinet decision and the proposal was placed before the State Administrative Council (SAC) chaired by then Governor Satya Pal Malik, which accorded approval to the annulment of the bid Process and initiation of procurement process of the 93-MW New Ganderbal Hydro Electric Project afresh by Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC) EPC mode.

“The decision was taken given the resolution passed by the then Board of Directors of JKSPDC,” the sources said. They said that all the requisite clearances for the project had been obtained and compliances for clearance of the project by the Centre’s Indus Commission made.

The government’s failure to start the construction of the 93-Megawatt New Ganderbal Power Project has evoked resentment among the people here.

Locals said that the successive governments had failed to initiate the work on the project.

“Locals were enthusiastic after the announcement of the construction of the new power project in Ganderbal but it was short-lived as no such development took place to date,” the residents said.

Bilal Ahmed, a local, said that the work on the project had not started despite frequent assurances from the higher-ranked officials and ministers in the past.

Officials said that if the project is completed, the power supply in J&K would increase and to some extent help tide over the power crisis.

The project is said to be more viable economically, geologically, and environmentally compared to other proposed and under-construction projects of the JKSPDC and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and involves minimal rehabilitation, resettlement, and social issues.

A senior official said that the project was in the tendering process.

“The date of submission of the bids was October 10, 2022, which has now been extended till October 31,” the official said. “Work on the project will be started once the tendering process is completed.”

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