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Uttarakhand flash floods: Power minister puts estimated loss for NTPC project at ₹1,500 crore

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 08, 2021 Published on February 08, 2021

Chamoli: Rescue operations underway in Neeti valley, a day after a glacier broke off in Joshimath causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Monday, February 8   -  PTI

The under-construction project with a planned capacity of 520MW was hit by massive flash floods triggered after a glacier outburst on Sunday

Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy RK Singh put the estimated loss to NTPC’s disaster-hit Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand at around ₹1,500 crore.

The under-construction project with a planned capacity of 520MW was hit by massive flash floods triggered after a glacier outburst on Sunday.

“The project was scheduled to be commissioned in 2023. But there is a question mark now on how long it will take to desilt it as lakhs of tonnes of silt is lying at the project site,” Singh told reporters while visiting the site on Monday. In a statement to BSE on Monday, NTPC said that “appropriate insurance cover is available for the loss/damage caused.“

“The project has been submerged under 16 metres of debris and major damage has been done to its gate,” Sandeep Singhal, Managing Director of Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd told BusinessLine, adding that the project would get back on track after the intensive work of clearing the debris gets completed.

On the other hand, the smaller Rishi Ganga project, which was operational with a capacity of 13.2MW, has been completely washed away. The project was owned by the Ludhiana-based Kundan Group.

As a precautionary measure, Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd (JPVL) has shut down its 400 MW Vishnuprayag Hydro Electric Project in the same district since Sunday morning. “We remain confident that VHEP will be resuming operations after completing the cleaning and checking all aspects in a few days,” the firm said in a statement.

On Sunday, operations of two projects of NTPC subsidiary THDC, Tehri (1 GW) and Koteshwar (400 MW) were stopped to reduce the impact of the disaster. “Fortunately there are no glaciers over Tehri and Koteshwar, but we stopped their operations yesterday because the water level in Alaknanda river had risen a lot, and the water level downstream could have risen if our dams released water into Bhagirathi river,” THPC CMD D.V. Singh told BusinessLine. The plants went back in operation on Monday after the threat had subsided, he said.

According to State government officials, around 30 persons were working at the Rishi Ganga site, and 175 labourers at the NTPC project site. While 12 have been rescued alive, 14 dead bodies have been recovered so far.

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Published on February 08, 2021
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