Work to start this year; Sawlakote gets Geological clearance
The Central Electricity Authority has cleared construction of the 93-MW New Ganderbal hydropower project on River Sindh in Central Kashmir.
Sources said following the ‘Techno Economic Clearance’ by the CEA, the State Power Development Corporation (PDC), which owns the project, would complete the bidding process by the end of the next month ahead of awarding the construction of the project.
Coming up at Rs 1041 crore, the New Ganderbal, a run-of-the river scheme, would be built in Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode.
The Corporation which owns around 21 hydropower projects in the State including 450-MW Baglihar-I would approach financial institutions for funding over Rs 700 crore construction cost of the project with state equity of around Rs 300 crore.
The project, in the past, along with many other hydropower projects in the State sector became victim of bureaucratic hurdles and indifferences of the successive regimes towards developing the energy sector in J&K having potential of around 2000 MWs.
The New Ganderbal was originally identified and declared viable in late 80’s when its construction was estimated to cost Rs 200 crore. Sources said the State Government had approached the Asian Development Bank for funding the project and subsequently in 2007 an ADB team had even visited the project site. However over the decades the governments did not move beyond, except for re-working the Detailed Project Reports and revising the construction cost.
An official said development of power sector was the “priority” of the Government, citing the Power Department has already awarded 48-MW Lower Kalnai, 37.5-MW Parnai, 850-MW Rattle and 450-MW Baghliar-II for construction. “They are scheduled for completion by the end of the 12th five year plan or early 13th,” the official said.
J&K’s power requirement which hovers around 2400 MW was expected to swell to 4217 MW in the next six years.
While the PDC generates 760 MW power from its projects, it is targeting 9166 MW generation by the end of the 13th five-year plan. In the state sector the Government has fixed a target of setting up 14 projects with a generation capacity of 6256 MW.
To meet the target, the State would require pumping equity of Rs 13000 crore of total Rs 55000 crore investment. The Corporation is working on a plan to float initial public offerings to tap the capital market to set up hydro power projects.
Meanwhile the Geological Survey of India has given clearance to the construction of the 1856 MW Sawlakote hydropower project. The state Government is targeting to complete the project construction by 2021. Like New Ganderbal the project has got delayed by more than a decade.
“There was no approach (road) to the project when it was cleared for the first time. Everything was done in an unplanned way,” sources said. “The department has now started the process to construct a road to the project which will include construction of a tunnel and a bridge.”