March 10: After much delay, the work on 1856 Mega Watt (MW) Sawalkot Power Project is likely to start next year, according to sources.
The proposed power project will come up on the bank of Chenab River in Tinger Panchayat, about 40 kilometers from the Ramban town.
According to sources, “Originally JKSPDC had planed 600 MW power project and anMoU was signed by Sawalkot consortium which comprised SPAS of Norway, HCC of India and Ozaltin of Turkey to develop the project. However the project never took off.”
Thereafter, a revised DPR estimated power potential at 1856 MW, about 3 times the original DPR. The revised DPR was subsequently cleared by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) even as it had to receive many other clearances including environmental clearance.
“As of now, the PDC has secured 20 out of 28 NOCs required for the execution of the project from various central and state government ministries including Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Environment”, CEO of Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC), Muzaffar Ahmad Lankar told Greater Kashmir.
He added that after getting remaining clearances from various ministries, the final approval will be accorded by the Ministry of Power, Government of India for the execution of the project. “Most expectedly, the execution work on the 1856 Mega Watt Power Project will start next year”, he said.
Meanwhile, according to sources, the Governor N N Vohra is expected to chair a Board of Directors (BoD) meeting here on March 10 to review the status of pre-construction activities for the prestigious project.
They said that the Jammu and Kashmir government will bear the entire cost of the Rs 18,000 crore power projects by raising Rs 10,000 crore as loan from various financial institutions.
Sources said that the power project conceived about one and a half decades back was set to be completed in seven and half years but it lingered on for years owing to the legal technicalities involved in its execution.
They said that one of the major reasons that put the fate of project hanging was the failure of State Power Development Corporation to construct a connecting link road of 18 kilometer to the project site.
“The foundation stone for the road was laid by the former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah in 2002 but even after passage of 14 years, the subsequent governments failed to construct the road”, sources said.
“For the link road, a tunnel and some bridges were to be constructed in the area at the cost of Rs 109 crore but till today, despite an escalated expenditure of over Rs 150 crore, the road is yet to be completed” they added.
The project which is considered crucial for the state, on its commissioning is expected to generate 800 crore units of electricity annually making the power starved state as surplus generator.
This is a run-of-the-river scheme for which total land requirement is about 1099 ha, out of which 600 ha is forest land. Total submergence area is about 900 ha.