Kashmir turmoil all set to delay commissioning of Kishanganga HEP

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Sept 13: Ongoing turmoil in the Valley for the last more than two months is all set to delay completion and commissioning of under-progress 330 MW Hydroelectric Power Project (HEP) on Kishanganga river in Bandipora district of North Kashmir.
Even as the civil work on this run-of- the river hydropower project is in the final phase and near completion at the dam wall site, the mechanical activities at Power House have come to a grinding halt because of the ongoing turmoil since the elimination of terrorist Burhan Wani on July 8,” official sources informed the Excelsior.
Since uncertainty continued to loom large over the prevailing situation and there seems no immediate end to the ongoing turmoil, majority of the workers and Engineers have also left the construction sites to their headquarters and other places, sources added.
In the current circumstances, sources further said, completion and commissioning of the ambitious hydroelectric project is all set to get delayed for at least six months as the hostile weather conditions do not allow construction activities after the month of November even if the law and order situation normalizes by then.
Located on a tributary to the Jhelum, the Kishanganga HEP project worth Rs 3642 is a run-of-the-river hydropower scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga river, generate electricity, and then send the water back to the river. November 2016 was the approximate deadline for completion and commissioning of the project.
Construction work on the project began in 2007, but was halted in 2011 after the neighbouring Pakistan objected to it by alleging violation of Indus Water Treaty between the two countries. However, on February 18, 2013, the International Hague Court upheld India’s right to divert water from Kishanganga river for the project. After winning the judgment from the International Court of Arbitration (ICA), the construction activities were resumed after a gap of two years on dam wall of the project where the other civil works like underground excavation for tunnel and Power House were already going on.
Presently, construction activities on Concrete Filled Rock Dam (CFRD) structure on the river bed at Gurez are nearing completion even as pace of work there was hit by ongoing unrest in the Valley. Though the civil work at Power House site at Bandipora is also in the advanced stage, the electric and maintenance activities have been severely hit and virtually come to a grinding halt for the last more than two months, sources said.
“Installation of two turbines is in advanced stage and the process of fixing third one is in initial phase while work on finishing of the Power House is yet to take off ,” authoritative sources informed while elaborating on status of the hydro-mechanical work, which is almost 75 percent complete .
Predicting that commissioning of the project is all set to get delayed from the deadline fixed for the same, sources further explained that even if the law and order situation in Kashmir valley returns to normal in next few days, hostile weather conditions would not allow continuation of work from November end to March.

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