Nothing seems to be working for the state-run power generation company, Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam (UJVN).
After it was forced to shut down a couple of its hydel-power projects on environmental and religious grounds, the company is now facing the fury of nature after a series of projects have been severely damaged in the recent flash floods.
“The preliminary estimate of the damages in the hydel projects caused by the recent floods is around Rs 55-60 crore," said B C K Mishra, the company's director (Operation).
The cloud burst on Saturday in the upper hilly areas of the floods-ravaged Uttarkashi district has caused enormous damage to 3 under-construction small hydel projects of the UJVN on the Assi Ganga river which is still in spate. These projects are Assi Ganga-I, Assi Ganga-II and Kaldigaad. Nearly 19 labourers at the Assi Ganga-I project were also killed in the flash floods.
Besides these smaller projects, two big projects —90 Mw Maneri Bhali-I and 304 Mw Maneri Bhali-II —have also suffered damages in the floods following which the operation of the two power plants has been suspended.
The power generation in Uttarakhand had virtually come to a halt after most of the major hydel projects reported heavy silt which stopped the turbines.
“We are trying our best to resume the power generation from all our hydel projects. Except Maneri Bhali-I and Maneri Bhali-II, we have resumed power generation from all our power projects,” said Mishra.
The UJVN’s hydel projects, which on an average produce 18-20 million units of power during the monsoon season, on Monday produced 12-13 million units thus giving a much-needed relief to the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL), the sole power distribution utility in the state. The shut down in the UJVN's projects had forced the UPCL to buy 300 Mw of power from the open market.
The UJVN had also suffered setbacks after a series of hydel projects including the 480-Mw Pala Maneri and 380-Mw were scrapped on religious and environmental grounds.