Hydropower projects remain shut, north India hit


Shimla : Major hydropower plants in Himachal Pradesh remained shut for a second day Tuesday due to high silt in the Sutlej, causing power shortages in the country’s north.

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But the 300 MW Baspa hydropower project of Jaypee Group, located on a higher altitude in Kinnaur district, became operational Tuesday as the level of silt came down.

Downstream, the silt level is still high.

India’s biggest hydropower plant, the Nathpa Jhakri power project, and Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corp Ltd’s 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo hydroelectric project, both located in Kinnaur, remained closed.

The silt level in the river, on which the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri project is located, was between 9,000 and 10,000 ppm (part per million), which is quite high, Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL) deputy general manager Vijay Verma told IANS.

The permissible limit is from 4,000 to 5,000 ppm. It came down from Monday’s 18,000 ppm but Verma said: “Still flood-like situation is prevailing in the Sutlej.”

Power generation in the Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Project, which is currently generating 600 MW daily, would start once the silt comes down to permissible limit, said Kanti Prasad, senior vice-president of Jaypee Group.

The river flow was more than 1,200 cusecs against the normal flow of 400 to 600 cusecs, he added.

The stoppage of power generation in the Nathpa Jhakri project is causing a daily loss of Rs.9 crore, said Verma.

The SJVNL, a joint venture between the centre and state government, daily generates about 38 million units.

This is supplied to Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.