You are here: Home » Economy & Policy » News
Business Standard

Large dams power India's growth story

Sapna Dogra Singh  |  New Delhi 

Despite the controversies surrounding large dams, the government is betting on a host of such mega projects to meet the country's power generation needs.
As part of the strategy, it is working on what will be the biggest dam in the country "" the 3,000-Mw Debang multi-purpose project on the Debang river in Arunachal Pradesh. Multipurpose dams serve two purposes "" power and irrigation. The Debang project will benefit the entire North-East and the eastern regions.
"The detailed project report has been prepared and is awaiting techno-economic clearance by the Central Electricity Authority," said an official of the authority.
Being developed by the Arunachal Pradesh government and the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), the project is likely to be commissioned in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-17).
The displacement of people due to the project was "marginal" and so it was unlikely to face much opposition, said officials working on the project.
Power planners say dams have been good for the country. An example is the Bhakra Nangal dam, which irrigates Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, and provided water for the Green Revolution. A multi-purpose project on the Satluj river, this 1,326-Mw dam will soon add a capacity of 90 Mw.
According to an official of the Bhakra Beas Management Board, the dam produced 440 million units of electricity in June to meet the demand for paddy crop. During non-monsoon months, the production is 275-300 million units. Last year (April 2006-March 2007), the production was 5,382 million units.
In Maharashtra, the Koyna dam, which has the country's first underground power house, supplies water to western Maharashtra and power to the neighbouring areas. Completed in 1963, the 1,920-Mw project is one of the largest civil engineering projects commissioned after India's independence. The Koyna electricity project is run by the Maharashtra State Electricity Board. Most generators are located in excavated caves a kilometre deep inside the surrounding hills.
The 1,000-Mw Tehri dam in Uttarakhand became fully operational this year. By 2011, another 1,000 Mw will be added.
Simultaneously, many other dams are being upgraded. The Srisailam dam in Andhra Pradesh, for instance, will soon add another 900 Mw to its capacity of 770 Mw.
The six river basins in the country have the potential to generate 150,000 Mw. However, so far, only 34,000 Mw has been tapped. The power ministry plans to add 16,553 Mw by 2012.
According to an official of the Central Electricity Authority, the contracts for 16,000 Mw have been awarded. The government plans to add 30,000 Mw hydro capacity during the Twelfth Plan, 31,000 Mw during the Thirteenth Plan and 38,000 Mw during the Fourteenth Plan.
More big projects like Debang might come up, said the official.
By 2012, the country will see three new projects of 1,000 Mw and above. These are the Karcham Wantoo project (1,000 Mw) in Himachal Pradesh, the Tehri pump storage scheme of 1,000 Mw and the 2,000-Mw plant at Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Wed, July 25 2007. 00:00 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.