Scrap Singoli-Bhatwadi & Vishnugad-Pipalkoti projects: Jhunjhunwala

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Scrap Singoli-Bhatwadi & Vishnugad-Pipalkoti projects: Jhunjhunwala

Thursday, 12 December 2019 | PNS | Dehradun

To protect the environment and biodiversity of the Himalayan state, noted environmentalist and economist Bharat Jhunjhunwala said that the Government should scrap the Singoli- Bhatwadi hydro-electric project on Mandakini river and Vishnugad-Pipalkoti hydro electric project on the Alaknanada river. The Uttarakhand Government had entered into agreements with L&T Uttaranchal (LTU) and THDC India Limited (THDCIL) to make these two projects.

According to Jhunjhunwala, a study of these projects shows that both are in utter loss and the nation will suffer heavy losses if they are not scrapped as soon as possible.

He said that the LTU had offered the Government to sell the electricity from the Singoli Bhatwadi project at Rs 4.25 per unit. However, electricity is available at the India Energy Exchange at an average price of Rs 3.62 per unit for 2015-2019.

“The Singoli Bhatwadi project was supposed to be commissioned in 2014 but has not been commissioned till date.

Thus, under the agreement, the State Government has a choice to buy out the project and will have to pay only 75 per cent of the realisable value of assets to LTU and by doing this the Government will still make a profit of Rs 200 crore. If the Government discontinues the project the net saving to Uttarakhand will be Rs 271 crore,” he informed. 

Talking about Vishnugad-Pipalkoti project, he informed that this project was to be completed in 2018 at a project cost of Rs 2096 crore.

“The electricity produced must be at the rate of Rs 2.26 per unit but because of the change in factors since then like the delay in time of commissioning the project from 2018 to December 2022 and the reduction in design energy the electricity will now be produced at Rs 5.76 per unit,” said Jhunjhunwala. He said that the two projects seem even more harmful if the environmental impact is considered. “The government should make a proper policy for development.

Instead focusing on projects through which they will earn free royalty, they must put their minds in other projects like tourism and knowledge economy,” he said.           

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