DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat attended a meeting on restarting the long pending hydro-electric projects with Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Chief Minister informed that water is the biggest source of power generation in the state. The state has a capacity to generate 25,000 MW of power from its available water resources.
The state government has identified to explore 17,000 MW of power taking into consideration environmental concerns as well as developmental needs. The state has till date only exploited 4000 MW of power despite the fact that the state has a demand of 13000 million units per year which is increasing at a rate of 5 to 8 per cent per annum. He said that 35 per cent of the demand is met by UJVNL, 40 per cent from central pool and 25 per cent power is bought from private sources. He further said that there 70 hydro-electric projects in Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river valleys, out of which 19 are running while remaining are under construction/ under development.
Chief Minister said that the work of 33 hydro-electric projects having capacity of 4000 MW have been stopped due to various environmental reasons and decisions of the honorable Supreme Court.
As per the instructions of the honorable Supreme Court, the report of the expert committee formed by the Union Forest and Environment Ministry regarding hydro-electric projects in Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river valleys in view of the environment conservation and maintaining continuous flow of rivers, the state government, Union Forest and Environment ministry, Union Power ministry and Government of India has given its approval. The committee has sanctioned to start work on ten hydro-electric projects while it has not given sanction to 24 hydro-electric projects with a capacity of 2676 MW of power which could have brought investment worth Rs.27000 crore. A sum of Rs. 1540 crore had already been spent by different developers on these project. He said that projects having capacity of 619 MW on which out of total cost of Rs. 7294 crore, already Rs. 3700 had been spent that include Vishnugad Pipalkoti 444 MW, Phata Bhyung (76 MW), Singauli Bhatwari (99 MW) are pending. The Chief Minister said that stopping these projects on which 80 per cent of the money has been spent is not in the interest of the state.
In the meeting, Chief Minister drew the attention of Mr. Gadkari towards the power needs of the state and requested that it is necessary in the interest of the state that pending hydropower projects in rivers other than Bhagirathi and Ganga basin should be implemented and also other pending hydro power projects should be started. Chief Minister said that because of the adverse geographical situation of the state and abundance of forests, state has limited resources and to make Uttarakhand self-reliant in the power sector, it is necessary to resume eco-friendly projects. He said that government is continuously making efforts to increase power capacity through small hydro projects.
Chief Minister said that the talks with the Gadkari regarding the pending hydro projects of the State have been positive. Uttarakhand source of revenue is from hydro power projects. He said that it has been endeavour of the state government to get the work done on the pending state-of-the-art hydro projects and to generate power from these projects, which will enhance the resources of the state.
Chief Minister said that one of the major part of hydro power projects is the areas which have been declared as Eco Sensitive Zone. It was also discussed in the meeting that how the power can be generated from the implementation of the projects in those areas. There has been total agreement of the state on the hydro-power projects like Lakhwar. He said that soon, tender for this project will be issued and work on the project will start. A meeting has already been held with the environmental experts on NGT and other issues. Union Minister Gadkari assured the Chief Minister of necessary action regarding the projects related to the State interest and also assured that this matter will be kept before the Prime Minister.