NTPC’s Hydel project may have disappeared in nature’s fury | India News
The site of a NTPC hydroelectric project damaged after a broken glacier caused a large river surge
NEW DELHI: NTPC’s 520 MW Tapovan-Vishnugad water project on the Dhauliganga River in Uttarakhand may have disappeared in Sunday’s flash flood on the Rishiganaga River caused by a glacier outbreak in the state’s Chamoli district.
Preliminary reports said the flash flood washed away the dam and office, accounting for about 60% of the completed construction work. Initial estimates put the cost of the dam and office at 450 million rupees.
Company executives said President Gurdeep Singh went to the project site with a team of executives to coordinate rescue and relief operations with government agencies and take stock of the damage.
Executives said about 70% of the project’s work had been completed. Reports suggest that at least 60-70% of construction may have been lost.
This is the second setback for the 13,500 crore project, which had suffered damage in the June 2013 flash flood. This time, a glacier broke in the Reini village of Joshimath, causing a massive flow of ‘cold lava’ made of snow, water, silt and boulders. This huge mass flowed through Rishiganga, a major tributary of Dhauliganga, and passed through a 13 MW private hydel project.
The debris then crept down to flood the Tapovan-Vishnugad project. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said silt and debris had entered 150 meters into a 250-meter tunnel, “trapping” some 40 workers.
The project has been delayed for more than eight years due to geological surprises encountered during tunnel drilling and damage in 2013. Construction had started in November 2006 and the first of the four units was due to come online in September 2012.
There were also reports that THDC’s 444 MW Pipal Koti and Jaypee Group’s 400 MW Vishnuprayag projects were also damaged in the flood.
The Tapovan-Vishnugad project is being built near the village of Tapovan, about 11 km upstream from the confluence of the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers near Joshimath. The bombing site is off the Joshimath-Malari highway, 15 km southeast of Joshimath.
The project has a mountainous catchment area of 3,100 square kilometers that includes the Nanda Devi basin, which flows into Rishiganga. Approximately 46% of the basin is covered in snow and extends to Nanda Devi, the second highest mountain in India at 7,817m. About 90 km from the Dhauliganga flows over the flood.