PM may not visit Uri project during J-K visit

NEW DELHI : The Uri Hydel project, whose second phase (240 MW) was scheduled to have been inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir beginning June 25, is now not expected to be on his itinerary.
The power project being built by the State-run National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC), which was to have been operationalised after being inaugurated by the Prime Minister, is believed to have hit a last minute snag in its functioning during trial runs.
The NHPC, during the trial runs, found a lot of slit near head as well as at the rear tunnel during the mandatory pre-testing on June 18 ahead of a VVIP visit, according to sources today. The project, second on river Jhelum in Uri town, is located downstream of 480-MW Uri-I.
Uri-II would have helped NHPC to increase its hydropower generation capacity to 1,920 MW in J and K from five projects in the state. The other four projects are 690-MW Salal, 480-MW Uri-I, 390-MW Dulhasti and 120-MW Sewa-II.
NHPC officials when contacted about the reported snag refused to comment.
However, some NHPC officials claimed that since the local population in the border town of Uri, located in North Kashmir, wanted job opportunities they would have attempted to disrupt the VVIP visit.
The Prime Minister, who is scheduled to arrive in Udhampur on June 25, would be visiting Kishtwar where he will lay the foundation stone of the 850 MW Ratle Hydel power project on river Chenab at Drabshala.
Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi will address a public rally at Kishtwar before flying to Srinagar where the Prime Minister will be meeting a host of political and business delegations.
On June 26 before returning to Delhi, Singh along with Gandhi will flag off the first train on the 18-km-long section between Banihal in Jammu and Qazigund in Kashmir.
This will provide an all-weather surface link to the Valley which often gets snapped due to snowfall during winters.
The section, which includes a 11-km-long tunnel and constructed at a cost of Rs 1,691 crore, will reduce the travelling distance from 35 km to 18 kms.
Known as ‘Pir Panjal’ tunnel, it is the longest transportation tunnel in India and third longest in Asia and constructed using New Austrian Tunnelling Method, which was for the first time used on such a largescale in the country.
Train services are already operational within Kashmir Valley between Qazigund and Baramulla in north Kashmir.
Trial runs on this section was successfully done on December 28 last year and since then trains carrying stones are running on regular basis. (AGENCIES)

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