NEC meet on power plan - Discussions on project delay at council headquarters

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  • Published 28.06.14

Guwahati, June 27: Delays in commissioning major power projects in the Northeast and concerns raised by states were discussed in the regional plan for power sector called by the North Eastern Council (NEC) yesterday in Shillong.

The regional plan was discussed at the NEC headquarters under the chairmanship of council member M.P. Bezbarua and was attended by officials of all states, besides representatives of power companies implementing projects in the region.

The two major power projects that are being delayed are the Northeastern Electric Power Corporation (Neepco)’s 600MW Kameng hydel power project and the NHPC’s Lower Subansiri power project.

Neepco has indicated that the Kameng power plant will be commissioned only by March 2017 against March 2016 as earlier indicated.

The delay of Kameng hydel power project can be attributed to issues ranging from bad approach roads to slow progress in dam construction because of bad geology, heavy seepage and inadequate machinery at the site. The original cost of the project was Rs 2,496.90 crore, which has now increased to Rs 4,653.95 crore.

Officials present in the meeting viewed with concern the holding up of Lower Subansiri power plant because of agitation, which could have far-reaching implications. There has been no work at the Lower Subansiri project since December 2011 and there is a likelihood that commissioning of the project, which was expected between 2016 and 2018, could be further delayed.

The Northeast altogether has an identified hydroelectric power potential capacity of 63,257MW and the capacity under operations is only 1,911MW, which is 3.05 per cent of the total potential.

NEC secretary Ameising Luikham said hydel power projects with capacity of 5,132MW are now at different stages of construction in the Northeast. The region is yet to explore 55,561MW of its potential capacity.

Constraints in implementation of hydel projects include long gestation period, forest and environment clearance, law and order problem, local issues, land acquisition problem, rehabilitation and resettlement, natural calamities, contractual problems, change in design, geological obstacles, difficult terrain and poor accessibility, shortage of skilled/unskilled manpower and delay in supply of materials.

The states stated that the last mile connectivity has been left out in the overall planning in various states.

Concern was raised by the Power Grid Corporation and other states regarding Indian Electricity Act, wherein the purchase of land for the right of way for any transmission is not allowed, as it is causing delays in the construction of transmission lines apart from the issue of forest clearance.

Concerns were also raised regarding the transmission and distribution losses, which can be improved further by setting up various power system improvements.