Drinking water for capital: dam projects suffers from funds

October 8th, 2008 - 11:35 am ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Oct 8 (IANS) Work on a hydel project in Himachal Pradesh that is meant to provide drinking water to the national capital has been advancing at a snail’s pace as the hill state is yet to get the promised Rs.3 billion (Rs.300 crores) from the Delhi government for initiating the project.The Rs.24-billion project, to be constructed on the Yamuna river in Sirmaur district, will not only quench the thirst of Delhiites by providing 23 cubic metres of water per second but is also meant to generate 40 MW of electricity for the hill state.

The proposal to construct the Renuka dam was first mooted in 1990 at an estimated cost of Rs.4 billion, but the delay in beginning work on the project has pushed its cost up six-fold.

Himachal Pradesh Power Corp Ltd (HPPCL) director Tarun Kapoor said the Delhi government has promised to initially provide Rs.3 billion to the state for starting the land acquisition work.

“The Delhi government has committed to us that it will provide Rs.3 billion so that we can immediately start the land acquisition work,” he said.

“We have identified 2,000 hectares of land for acquisition. But due to paucity of funds, we are unable to issue a notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act to initiate the process,” Kapoor told IANS.

Sirmaur deputy commissioner Pushpinder Rajput said more than 1,500 families would be directly or indirectly affected by the project.

“We have identified more than 1,500 families that would be reallocated from the project site but we need funds for giving them relief and rehabilitation packages” he pointed out.

As per the agreement between the Himachal Pradesh and Delhi governments, the hill state will only bear the cost of installing the electrical mechanical equipment, including turbine generators, while the Delhi government will pay rest of the cost, including on land acquisition and dam construction.

“The acquisition of land, especially private, for any project is a herculean task. We have worked out relief packages for the affected families. Now the ball is in the court of the Delhi government. Once we get the funds, we will start acquiring the land,” the HPPCL director said.

“If the acquisition work is completed within a few months, then the project would be awarded for execution by the middle of next year,” Kapoor added.

The project, which will supply water to Delhi during the nine non-monsoon months through a gravity pipeline that will pass through Haryana, is likely to be commissioned by 2014, he said.

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