NTPC, Rishi Ganga power projects nearly washed away

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 07, 2021

Radar-based flood water monitoring systems installed by CWC at multiple locations in Uttarakhand helped it assess rise in water levels in real time   -  Courtesy: Kritsnam Technologies

Hydel projects on River Alaknanda said to be safe

Floods caused by a glacier burst in Uttarakhand on Sunday caused major damage to two hydropower projects in Chamoli district.

National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Tapovan Vishnugad project and Rishi Ganga Power Corporation Ltd’s project, with a planned capacity of 520 MW and 13.2 MW, respectively, have been nearly washed away.

“An avalanche near Tapovan in Uttarakhand has damaged a part of our under-construction hydropower project in the region. While rescue operation is on, the situation is being monitored continuously with the help of district administration and police,” NTPC said in a tweet. The National Crisis Management Committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, has asked NTPC’s MD to visit the affected site immediately.

While the NTPC project was under construction when the disaster hit, the Rishi Ganga project had resumed generating power last June. Ironically, the project had been damaged in the 2016 floods, too, leading to stoppage of power generation. Subsequently, the project was taken over by Ludhiana-based Kundan Group through the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

According to State government officials, around 30 persons were working at the Rishi Ganga site, and 175 labourers at the NTPC project site, and a large majority of them went missing when the flood hit. At the time of going to press, 16 people had been rescued and seven bodies recovered.

Efforts are on to save people trapped in one of the tunnels under construction, which is 2.5 km long, the officials told BusinessLine.

The official also said that other hydel projects in the region are on River Alaknanda, and they are said to be safe.

Flood monitoring system

Interestingly, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has been able to monitor the rise in water levels in real time, thanks to an indigenously developed radar-based flood water monitoring technology developed by a start-up incubated at IIT-Kanpur.

Using the technology developed by Kritsnam Technologies Pvt Ltd, founded by a group of graduates from IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Kharagpur, CWC was able to assess the situation and take prompt action. “Our radar-based instruments enabled the government to take required timely action, thus bringing down the human and economic loss to the minimum,” said K Sri Harsha, one of the co-founders of Kritsnam Technologies.

Published on February 07, 2021

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