No headway in restoration of Sewa III, New Ganderbal Power House remains non starter

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, June 17: While the nine megawatt Sewa IIIrd Project is defunct due to non seriousness of the State Government for last six years after a portion of its canal was washed away by flash floods of Ravi river in the year 2012, the much talked about 93 mw New Ganderbal Hydel Project though conceived over four decades back has failed to see the light of the day.
According to authoritative sources non seriousness of the State Government has failed to restore the Sewa Power Project III and construct the Ganderbal New Power Project in Kashmir valley to overcome the power shortage in the State and boost its economy.
Sources said that nine MW Sewa III Power Project at Hutt Mahshika in Basholi tehsil of Kathua district in Jammu region has developed a snag nine years after its commissioning in the year 2012 when a portion of its canal breached due to flash floods of Ravi river flowing adjoining to it.
Since then the authorities of Power Development failed to restore the project. Though authorities gave several dead lines about restoration of project but all proved hollow and after the passage of six years the restoration work is still in tendering process, sources said.
Surprisingly two power projects adjacent to Sewa III one of 120 MW Sewa Second constructed by NHPC and another Chamera Power Project constructed on river Rawi in Himachal Pradesh are functioning smoothly while the nine mw power project of the J&K State Government developed a snag within some years of its commissioning putting the State exchequer to a heavy loss.
The project was designed for generating nine mw of power from its three units, three mws of each unit. The authorities claim that they are in the process of rejuvenating the project and restore the portion of water conductor which was slided in flash floods of Ravi river.
The Project is under Civil Investigation, Design Wing of Power Development Corporation (PDC) which since 2012 has been claiming that process of restoring the damaged portion will take place soon. Last year too the authorities claimed that the DPRs have been framed for the restoration work and tenders for the same will be called soon but this day has not come so far.
The same is problem with the 93 mw New Ganderbal Power Project which was conceived by former Chief Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah after he took over the reigns of State Government in year 1975. He made an announcement at Ganderbal which he represented in State Assembly to construct a new power house adjacent to old one to increase the power generation in the State. However, it remained confined to his announcement only as during his tenure from 1975 to 1982 no ground work was done on the project. Later the foundation of the project was laid in 1992 during Governor rule and the Government accorded approval to sanction of two construction divisions for the project, sources said.
The land acquisition process was completed and some ancillary works were also constructed. However, later the work was again abandoned for years together due to technical reasons.
Sources said soon after the present Government came to power in 2015 it started process of constructing the project and it got the Cabinet clearance for the same in June last year. The contract after due process and completion of all formalities was awarded to HSS Pvt Ltd and Cabinet gave its approval on June 30 last year to the same, sources added.
The Department issued notification of award and sought the acceptance from the company to pay bank guarantee of Rs 82 crore.  The firm was asked to respond in 28 days i.e it was given time from August 8 to September 4 for submitting bank guarantee which it failed to do, sources said.
The company took refuge under the garb of implementation of GST in the country and did not respond to the offer of the Department regarding payment of bank guarantee, sources said. The Department however assured the company that whatever the problems would be created in the implementation of GST it (Department) will bear it out.  The Department waited up to ending November 2017 but the company showed reluctance in executing the project, sources added.
Later the Department cancelled the bid and forfeited the CDR of the company amounting to Rs 10 crore.
Now the issue will be taken to Board of Directors by the Corporation, sources said which is headed by the Power Minister. However with the change of portfolios of the ministers  the new Board is to be constituted and soon after it assumes functioning the issue will be taken in the Board for future course of action on the project.
The tendering cost of Project is Rs 820 crore. However the total cost including the ancillary works etc will amount to Rs 1100 crore approximately, sources added.
The 93 mw project will be of three units with 31 mw each and the entire 11.6  km water conductor of the project will be under tunnel from its Head Works at Prang, Kangan to powerhouse which will be situated 200 metres below the Old Ganderbal in Bihama.
Chief Engineer of the Project Fida Hussian showed optimism that the decks will be cleared soon and they are waiting for a nod from the Government in this regard.