Getting started the Kiru Project

Proverbial ‘first venture first loss’ in respect of the prestigious 624 Mega Watts Kiru Hydroelectric project is very soon going to be reversed by the work on it getting started hopefully by the next month. Immediately after awarding of contracts to three different companies by the Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt Ltd in late February 2020 following foundation of this project laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 3, 2019- imposition of lockdown put all spokes in the wheels of starting all preparations like moving men and machinery to the project site and to start work on it. Novel Coronavirus , as if bent upon not only posing threat to human lives but stalling almost all important routine activities to sustain and improve upon the infrastructural development, dealt a blow to this project too by the work on it not even getting started. In terms of economic losses on account of postponing, deferring, delaying of vital projects especially the one like Kiru which is loaded with tapping lot much of untapped power generation , calculations and cost escalations could be enormous.
It is to be increasingly believed that this project was destined to address the energy deficiency in many Northern parts of the country, not to speak of writing a new chapter for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir in tiding over the problem of the gap between demand and supply of power. Saying so would be no overstatement of a simple fact. Not only that, the project is aimed at improving a lot, vis-a-vis education, medical and road transportation in the region otherwise economically backward. Rural areas were going to be benefitted by getting cheap power and thus do away with the alternative sources of energy and uninterrupted and adequate power supply was a concomitant of increased industrial activities in the area. All these benefits from this project need to be harnessed and the ease in restrictions in respect of lockdown 4.0 need to be fully utilized in making the project see work on it getting started at the earliest. Accordingly , it is a move in the right direction that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and UT administration etc asking the companies that have been awarded contracts to start the work on the project of estimated cost of Rs.4300 crore (July 2018 price level) from early next month.
Mobilising men after migration of the huge labour force following three phases of lockdown, agreeably, seems to be not that easy as even now, the process of labour ‘going home’ is still underway across the country but whatever labour force was readily available could be utilised since the three concerned companies must be executing one or the other works in the UT or in nearby areas and having some labour force with them. We understand that the main company which has been allotted civil works has placed orders for purchasing of machinery and the transportation thereof could start early next month which was going to generate a tempo of activities in respect of the project. Since there was not much of underground work to be done, that the project would be completed in time was most likely to happen. The Kiru HEP has the advantage of the nature of the job not being much complex like other power projects in Jammu and Kashmir which makes it all the more of immense importance. Whatever incentive and support needed by the project has already been promised by the UT Government in the shape of exemption from paying toll tax, sales goods and service tax, waiver of free power in a decremented manner and water usage charges for the next ten years starting from the date of commercial operation of the project. Looking to all above, an early start of work on it with full gusto is not only hoped but envisaged as well.