Himachal dam project to provide power to state and water to Delhi

July 14th, 2008 - 10:19 am ICT by IANS  

By Vishal Gulati
Shimla, July 14 (IANS) Work on the Renuka hydel project in Himachal Pradesh, which has been on the cards for almost 18 years, is set to start now, with the Delhi government finally agreeing to pay Rs.3 billion to the hill state. The proposed Rs.24-billion project, to be constructed on the Yamuna river in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, will not only quench the thirst of Delhiites but also generate 40 MW of power for Himachal Pradesh.

The idea of the Renuka dam was first mooted in 1990 at an estimated cost of Rs.4 billion, but the project was delayed for many reasons.

Himachal Pradesh Power Corp Ltd director Tarun Kapoor told IANS that the Delhi Jal Board has agreed to initially provide Rs.3 billion to the state.

“The Delhi government has told us that it is willing to pay Rs.3 billion so that we can start the construction work,” he said.

As per the agreement signed between Delhi and Himachal Pradesh Dec 8, 2006, water from the dam will be supplied to the national capital through a pipeline from Dadahu village, 200 km from here. The pipeline passes through the state of Haryana.

At the time it was decided that the project would be completed before the commencement of the Commonwealth Games in 2010. It was also decided that the Delhi government would meet the enhanced cost of construction.

The tentative revised cost of the project at the 2006 price level was estimated at Rs.29.11 billion, in comparison to Rs.12.24 billion evaluated at the 1997 price level.

Spread over 1,500 hectares, the 148-metre high and 844-metre long dam requires 890 hectares of private land.

Sirmaur’s deputy commissioner Pushpinder Rajput said a survey had been started to ascertain the area that would be submerged in the dam waters after getting clearance from the ministry of forests and environment.

He said the government would soon issue a notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act to acquire land for the project.

“The process to identify the land where the affected villagers will be rehabilitated is also going on,” Rajput said.

The government has to do a lot of groundwork like realignment of the Nahan-Sangrah highway and afforestation in lieu of 250,000 plants that would be damaged due to spread of dam waters in 24 sq km of forest area.

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