PDC apathy limits Lower Jhelum’s power generating capacity

PDC apathy limits Lower Jhelum’s power generating capacityDespite provision for installation of fourth unit at the state-owned Lower Jhelum Hydro-power Project (LJHP) at Gantmulla here, the State Power Development Corporation (PDC) has failed to enhance its electricity generation capacity, resulting in loss of around 1500 lakh units of energy annually.
Commissioned in 1977-78, with a generation capacity of 105 MW, the LJHP, according to reports, was designed in such a way that a fourth unit could be added to it to increase its capacity by 35 MW.
However, despite passing of nearly four decades, the PDC has not taken any concrete steps in that direction, incurring state government a loss of around 1500 lakh units of energy annually, estimated to cost Rs 50 crores.
The fourth unit, according to sources, could be installed at a cost of about Rs 200 crores and the same investment could be easily recovered within four years.
“We don’t have to carry any major work in civil stream but most of the work pertains to electro-mechanical sectors only,” said an official of PDC.
As per sources, the Corporation had earlier submitted a proposal to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Central Water Commission (CWC) for the technical validation of the fourth unit and the apex bodies had given nod to the plan and asked the Corporation to submit a detailed project report (DPR).
However, the PDC reportedly has not framed the DPR despite obtaining cost offers from various electro-mechanical suppliers for estimating the cost.
According to sources, the present canal for the existing three units of the project has a carrying capacity of 9000 cusecs, while the collective required capacity for all the four units is just 9600 cusecs.
Experts suggest that the desired capacity enhancement can be easily achieved by raising the parapet walls on the canal and by making necessary improvement on the siphons.
The LJHP is one of the oldest power plants and has generated 661.236 million units of energy in 2015-16, which is the third highest yearly generation from it since its commissioning and first highest since formation of PDC in 1998-99.
Before Baglihar, the project was the largest and the most reliable power generating project in the State and is reported to have earned billions for the Corporation.
Engineers rate the project very highly for its simple design and trouble-free operation. “This project has been subjected to neglect not only from augmentation of capacity point of view but day to day maintenance angle as well,” they said.
Executive Director JK PDC, AM Lankar told that he was not aware about any ground work being carried out in past. He said that the proposal, if any, has different parameters like raising the capacity of the canal and other aspects.

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