REGULATION | Cesar Tordesillas, India

Silt forces hydropower plant shutdowns, affects north India

Hydropower plants in Himachal Pradesh were shut down due to the high silt level in Sutlej river, sparking a power crisis in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.


The country's biggest hydropower plant, the Nathpa Jhakri power project, and Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corp Ltd's 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Project and 300 MW Baspa Hydropower project, all located in Kinnaur district, were closed due to sudden rise in the silt.

The silt level in the river, on which the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri power project is located, was more than the permissible limit of 4,000 and 5,000 ppm, said Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd deputy general manager Vijay Verma.

'Generation cannot be resumed till the silt content comes down. Continuous rainfall in the catchment area created floodlike situation in the Sutlej,' he added.

D.P. Goyal, project managing director of Jaypee Group, said the Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Project, which is currently generating 600 MW daily, has also been shut.

Likewise, the company's 300 MW Baspa Hydropower project, located upstream of the Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Project, was closed.

The stoppage of power generation in the Nathpa Jhakri project is causing a daily loss of Rs.9 crore, said Verma.

The SJVNL, a joint venture between the centre and state government, daily generates about 38 million units.

This is supplied to Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

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