Updated Saturday, June 3, 2006


Centre's special dispensation for Ladakh; Rs 1233-cr power projects cleared


NEW DELHI, June 2: Union Cabinet here on Friday approved two new power projects to be constructed on the Indus River and its tributary the Suru River in Ladakh region.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh approved the Nimmo Bazgo hydroelectric project in Leh and the Chutak hydroelectric project in Kargil.

An official statement said the proposed 45-megawatt (MW) Nimoo Bazgo Project in Leh would be situated near the Alchi village and 70 kilometres from Leh. A 57-metre-high concrete gravity dam will also be constructed. The project will cost around Rs 611.01 crore. The Chutak HydroElectric Project will be situated near Chutak village, 15 Kms from Kargil township with an estimated cost of Rs 621.26 crore.

The Chutak hydro power will have four units of 11 MW each. The project will be completed in 54 months of time. India's public sector National Hydro Electric Power Corporation (NHPC) will construct both the projects as per an agreement signed between New Delhi and the state government.

The statement further said that funds will be diverted from the allocations earlier specified for the Srinagar-Leh transmission line to cater to the financial needs of both the projects.
According to the Cabinet note, Ladakh region is the most deficient area in terms of power supply in view of the topography and huge cost involved.

Only some pockets of the region get power supply and that too far a few hours a day.
The Planning Commission in its note had opposed construction of both the Nimo Bazgo and Chuttuk projects in view of the huge costs involved. "In view of the restriction imposed by the Indus Water Treaty no pondage is allowed on river Indus: As a result of this, the generation will drop down to less than one third of the installed capacity during winter due to low discharge in the river," the Planning Commission note said.

It stated even after commissioning of these projects it will be necessary to make alternative arrangements to meet the power requirement of the people during winter. Therefore, the Commission had pleaded to take up the 132 KV transmission line upto Leh. The Central Electricy Authority (CEA) had also advocated spending money in laying the transmission line in view of the high tariff of the Nimo Bazgo hydel electric project.

Further, Ladakh is the only region not connected with the National Grid. The Planning Commission note stated that the transmission line would result in high savings to the Defence Ministry which is spending substantial amount on generating power through diesel generators for its units stationed in that region.

As a special dispensation, the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh grid line should be treated as a national project by the Government of India. But, the government has now shelved the idea of laying the transmission line and instead of diverting funds to these two power projects.


Source: Kashmir Times. Read the news story at the original site.