Tall claims fall flat, NHPC forgets 1020 MW Bursar Hydroelectric Project

Pardeep Singh Bali

Even at a time, when the state is marred with scheduled and unscheduled power cuts due to gap in demand and supply rate, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) seems much reluctant to start much talked 1020 MW Bursar Hydroelectric Project in Kishtwar, despite the passage of more than ten years.

According to highly reliable sources, in the last ten years, the NHPC had taken this project to only survey and investigation stage, despite its potential of generating 2282.26 MU annually. “When the need for power is escalating in the state, NHPC instead of starting this project, it has stalled the process due to reasons best known to them. It is unfortunate that in the last more than ten years, this project remained Under Survey and Investigation Stage,” said sources, adding from the very beginning this project has landed into controversies and obstructions.

He asserted that the Bursar Hydroelectric Project in Kishtwar is one among the most unfortunate projects that has been hanging fire for last more than one decade. “Not to speak of other things, even the location where the power house would be set up became a contentious issue,” he said and added that initially the project was given to the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation with the hope that it would be technically a perfect project and would be completed within the specified time.

“However, the ground reality is quite different. More than one decade has lapsed, but the concerned agency has not even finalized the blue print of the project,” he said and added even the preliminary work that is also the pre-requisite of a project has not been started. In the meantime, the project was considered as central sector project with the hope to generate electricity as soon as possible.

“After allotting it to the NHPC, the project was taken over as a Central Sector Projects by the Union Government, but it had to obtain No Objection Certificate from National Board of Wildlife and Ministry of Environment and Forest, which it has not done so far,” sources said and alleged that even Environment Impact Assessment and Environment Management Plan studies are still under process.

The project has been hanging in the ‘Under Survey and Investigation Stage’ category since past more than one decade, which means in the past ten years, the project has been remained in process of preparation of PFR/FR/ for getting various statutory clearances. “For preparation of these reports, various hydrological, geological, meteorological, power potential studies etc are carried out at the project site,” sources said.

Meanwhile, the executing agency-NHPC has remained in the ‘bad-books’ of the state government, as former chief minister-Omar Abdullah had said that they will not allot any new power projects to NHPC till the corporation. “Owing to lethargic approach of the NHPC in carrying out projects and evolving state stake holders in power generation, the chief minister has said that no new project will be given to the agency if it is not ready to work in a joint venture and return the projects after 30 years of their completion,” sources said quoting former chief minister.

Sources said that the former Chief Minister had said ‘till the NHPC is ready to co-operate with the state, the government would not co-operate with them.’ Pertinently, the Bursar Hydroelectric Project is a storage project in which the flow of water can be regulated not only to the benefit of this project but all downstream projects, including Pakal Dul, Dul Hasti, Rattle, Baglihar, Sawalakote and Salal Hydroelectric Projects, thereby enhancing the potential of all downstream schemes.

The dam site is located near village Pakal on river Marusudar which is one of the major tributary of river Chenab. The storage provided is intended to be used for additional power generation during lean flow months and releasing regulated flow in the downstream.

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