PDC fails to commission 2 projects of 18 MW despite lapse of over 5 years

*Jumps timeline fixed in Power Budget 2016-17

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, May 24: Slackness on the part of concerned authorities has remained major hurdle in making Jammu and Kashmir self-reliant in the power sector and inordinate delay in execution of two projects of merely 9 Mega Watt (MW) each in Leh district, which were otherwise accorded top priority over five and half years back, are the testimony of this approach.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in order to tap hydro power potential available in Leh district, the then Government decided to construct two projects—one each of 9 Mega Watt on tributaries of Indus River and accordingly on October 14, 2011 the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah laid foundation of these projects named as Dah and Hanu.
It was officially announced at that time that both the projects will be completed within a period of 4 years at the cost of Rs 43.61 crore and Rs 41.67 crore respectively by the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation to meet the electricity requirement of Leh district.
Thereafter, keeping in view the importance of these projects for the cold desert area, the Power Development Corporation prioritized nine projects for immediate execution while claiming that it has accorded top priority to harness huge hydro power potential.
In the list of 9 prioritized projects, Dah Hydroelectric Project and Hanu Hydroelectric Project were also included. These were the only small projects in the list as such it was hoped that these would be executed in the shortest possible time as compared to other seven projects. However, the State Power Development Corporation has failed to come up to the expectations especially with regard to completion of two small projects, sources said.
While presenting Power Budget for 2016-17 Financial Year in the Legislative Assembly in May 2016 at Srinagar, the Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu had announced that major components of 9 MW Dah and 9 MW Hanu projects were completed during 2015-16 financial year and both the projects would be commissioned by ending Financial Year 2016-17.
After few months, progress on both the projects was reviewed in a meeting of Management and Finance Sub-Committee of State Power Development Corporation convened by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh on December 28, 2016 and it was decided to extend time for completion of work on Dah and Hanu projects.
“Despite jumping the time-line fixed in the Power Budget 2016-17 and extension of time for completion of work by the Deputy Chief Minister, the Power Development Corporation is not in a position to specify any time-frame for the commissioning of the projects”, sources said while alleging that these two small projects are the clear testimony of slack approach towards the power sector, which otherwise has been flagged as priority area by the present dispensation.
When contacted, Shah Faesal, Managing Director of Power Development Corporation said, “the work on both the projects is still going on and hopefully we will be able to commission the projects in October-November this year”.
Contrary to the announcement made by the Finance Minister in the Power Budget 2016-17, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR, Managing Director said, “there was only one time-frame of ending 2017 and not ending 2016-17 financial year for completion of work on these two projects”.
“The inordinate delay in completion of small projects of 9 Mega Watts has put a big question mark on the performance of Power Development Corporation otherwise five and half years is sufficient period for commissioning of two small projects”, sources said, adding “it seems that power has been flagged as priority sector only on the papers and on ground the situation is contrary to the claims of the Government”.
As per the Detailed Project Report (DPR), Dah HEP is a run-of-river scheme and will be operated with firm power of installed capacity of 9 MW for six months. For the remaining six months the availability will be from 9 MW to 4.68 MW. The project will generate 63.92 million units annually.
Similarly, Hanu HEP will generate firm power of installed capacity of 9 MW for six months and for the remaining six months the availability will be from 9 MW to 2.63 MW.