Impounding of water in 800 MW Kol hydel project begins

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Mandi, Dec 21: The impounding of water in reservoir of 800 MW Kol Dam Hydroelectric project in Mandi and Bilaspur districts of Himachal Pradesh before its commissioning begun after NTPC CMD closed the gates of a diversion tunnel by the press of a button yesterday.

Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) of National Thermal Power Corporation Arun Rai Chaudhary closed the gates of diversion tunnel Kush by pressing a button from a control room, following which the process of impounding of water started.

The Rs 4,527 crore project being executed by NTPC was already running two years behind schedule and the deadline for impounding of water had been extended many a times. The work on the project had earlier started without getting the requisite forest clearance of 124.054 Hectar, which was part of Majathal Wild Life sanctuary.

The Supreme Court of India, while allowing the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to use 124.054 Hectares of  Forest land (a part of Majathal Wild life Sanctuary) last week, directed it to deposit five percent of the cost of the project for compensatory forestry.

It ordered this amount be utilised for undertaking conservation and protection of the protected Forest area in the state as per the condition stipulated by the Standing Committee of National Board for Wild life.

The Board directed the NTPC to identify 500 hectares of Cheer pheasant habitat land and hand it over to State, which would get it notified as a Sanctuary ahead of submergence in Koldam. The Standing Committee of National Board further directed the State Forest Department to identify another 10 wildlife habitats, in consultation with Wildlife Institute of India and get it notified as a Sanctuary before submergence.

The court while allowing the I.A (Intervention application) filed by the NTPC, cleared the project and asked the power utility to deposit Rs 226.95 crore with Compensatory Afforestation Fund. It was due to this order that the NTPC could start much awaited impounding of water.

The NTPC has once again deferred the schedule of production of electricity, which was earlier fixed for April 2014. The foundation stone of 800 MW Kol Dam was laid by Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee on June 5, 2000 and the project was scheduled for commissioning in 2008.

PTI

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