Waiting for Godot: Tale of hydro power projects in Kashmir

Waiting for Godot: Tale of hydro power projects in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Again the hydro power projects in Kashmir are facing delays, despite repeated assurances by the Jammu and Kashmir Government of speeding up work.

The 2000 Mega Watts (MW) capacity plan of hydro power, which is already facing time overrun of five to eight years, is making no progress for the same reasons that existed years ago. Contractual issues, construction management issues, land acquisition conflicts are the reasons said to be responsible for the delay.

The four units of the Pakal Dul Hydroelectric Project in Kishtwar district, which was envisaged by the Omar Abdullah-led government, were scheduled to be completed in 2020-21, a deadline that had been extended from the earlier 2016. So far, nearly Rs 450 crore has been spent on the project without any results.

“Its executing agency has conveyed that the project would be commissioned during the 2025-26 financial year,” sources said.

The Parnai Hydroelectric Project is another with the same fate. Scheduled to be completed in 2017-18 financial year, it too has failed to meet the deadline. It is being said that the government has been told that it will be completed in 2022-23. Nearly Rs 100 crore has been spent without the project seeing any start.

The Lower Kalnai Hydroelectric Project was to be completed in 2017-18. Its executing agency has said that it will finish only in 2026.

Similarly, the Ratle Hydroelectric Project, slated to be finished in 2019, is now scheduled for completion in 2026. The 850 MW project is one of the most ambitious HEPs.

The Kiru project is now set to be completed in 2025, when it was supposed to start from this year only. About Rs 450 crore has been spent on it so far.

Earlier this year, the Administrative Council under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had approved the incorporation of a Joint Venture Company (JVC) under the name Ratle Hydro-Electric Power Corporation to implement the 850 MW Ratle Hydro-Electric Project (HEP) on river Chenab at Drabshala in Kishtwar. The proposed JVC will have authorised capital of Rs 1600 crore with initial paid up capital of Rs 100 crore, out of which the JKSPDCL will contribute Rs 49 crore as initial equity.

According to the government’s economic survey report, the state till today has built only less than 1300 MW, against the central sector share of 2000 MW, with most of the contribution coming from the central NHPC. This has happened despite the state having made its first power project Mohra in 1905, just 27 years after the world’s first hydroelectric power scheme was developed at Cragside in Northumberland, England, by William Armstrong.

The J&K Government has finished none of the hydropower projects envisaged during the Omar Abdullah-led government. This delay dashed the dreams of the government of achieving nearly 6000 MW of hydro power by 2021. Omar’s government in 2013 had said that by 2021 Jammu and Kashmir will be an energy surplus state. In 2018, except work on one power project, six are still undergoing paper work. As per the government’s information, only 10 percent of the work on the 48-MW lower Kalnai power project, which was scheduled to be finished by September 2017, has been completed.


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