Ujh multipurpose project in new vistas

The Ujh project is aimed at not only providing 212 MW hydropower generation (installed capacity is however 196MW) but irrigate vast parched fields and provide drinking water too, hence known as the multipurpose project. Needless to add, though this part of the country has enough hydropowerpotential, to be precise more than 20000 MW to generate, only nearly 2500 MW power has been generated. In other words, much remains to be done while there is continuous increase in the demand for power especially during winter season when there is lot of strain on the output or generation getting receded. We have to rely on outsourcing its supply and the same is ‘purchased’ from the Northern Grid. It is entirely a different question but very critical by nature that even the minimum input cost of generation is not cumulatively realised and the CentralGovernment, many a time, has been bailing out the then state (now UT) Government in respect of clearance of huge power bills from the Northern Grid which otherwise keep outstanding for a long period of time.
The strategic importance of the project can be gauged by the fact that it has been declared as a National Project way back in the year 2008. Its Detailed Project Report involving issues related to water, water bodies, environment, submergence of land , international aspect of waters flowing across the borders and the like was prepared by Indus Basin Organisation of Central Water Commission 2013. The DPR was revised and still subsequent new amendments and additions required in it leading to the need of preparation of a modified DPR.
Ujh Multipurpose Project is a solution to a larger extent, to the varied problems and though the proposal was forwarded by the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation years back, it had to be shelved and approved very intensely on technical grounds, economic viability and allied prerequisites which called for amendments and changes in its basic Detailed Project Report (DPR) due to which this important project could not see the light of the day. Since the project being first of its kind in Jammu and Kashmir and taking care of hydropower, irrigation and drinking water, it is equally loaded with the prospects of development of tourism, fisheries as also of industries. It also promises to boost and improve the existing infrastructure. The encouraging development in the subject matter is that the Central Advisory Committee of Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (DoWR) looking to the type of sensitive proposals like the one under reference, has accorded approval for Modified Detailed Project Report at an estimated cost of Rs. 9167 crore. Though the cost is based on the price level of December 2019, it was likely to go beyond the estimates .
However, the said Committee has put certain conditions to the project proposal. It was to be ensured that the water released to generate hydropower by this multipurpose project should not flow out of the country so the irrigation capacity needed to be augmented. Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Jammu and Kashmir contributed towards the modified Project Report by including additional culturable command area due to which Kathua district in Jammu region could be greatly benefitted in respect of agriculture and meeting its drinking water requirements. Culturable Command Area (CCA), it may be noted, is the area specific which can be irrigated from a scheme and is otherwise fit for cultivation. These are all techno- engineering aspects of the prestigious project, what should be the focus of the concerned authorities, now, is how much at the earliest possible convenience, the project was started to generate power and release water for drinking and irrigation so that not only in the areas specific but overall for Jammu and Kashmir, this project proved as a landmark in power generation and allied utilities.


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