Uttarakhand facing shortage of power supply

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Dehradun, Sep.15 : Uttarakhand, the home of country's largest hydroelectric projects, is not able to provide adequate electricity to its local residents.

Residents in the State capital Dehradun complain there has been no power for five to six hours for many days.

People are surprised that despite heavy downpour of rains and the catchment areas being full, the State is still faced with acute electricity crisis.

Even the people, who had to shift their place of residence due to construction of dam for hydroelectric projects, rue the fact that if the local public was to suffer for electricity within the State, why were they unnecessarily displaced?

There are 87 powerhouse projects either underway or proposed in Uttarakhand. These projects are expected to benefit electric supply in the country.

Residents lament the fact that in the process of setting up and carrying on work in these powerhouses, huge sum of money has been spent by the exchequer and yet the State is starved of electricity.

"It is worth pondering that though the dam may be ready by now and is expected to produce enough electricity for all States of our country, the situation of Uttarakhand continues to be far away from expectation. The Government should check how much money is being spent on these projects but how many areas have been actually benefitted. Also it must be highlighted as to how much of hydro-electrical energy has it produced," said Suresh Bhall, a social worker in Uttarkashi, the region where the massive Tehri dam has been built.

According to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Major General (Retd.) B. C. Khanduri, the heavy rains and collection of a lot of silt has led to the problem.

"All our predictions and expectations were going right but unfortunately because of the sudden heavy rains, lot of silt got collected in our Manir Phase-II dam that forced us to shut the generator at the dam which produced around 304 mega watts of power," said B.C.Khanduri.

"The dam is under the process of cleaning. Once it will be over, the generators at the dam would be restarted again. We have quite good projects in our hand for our future benefits," Khanduri added. However, the electricity problem is likely to take about three to four years to be over following technicalities involved.

The electricity problem has aggravated in the last one-and-a-half years. Earlier, any shortage or crisis was handled with the cooperation of neighbouring States like Haryana and Punjab.

A survey conducted by the Government of India, a few years ago, observed that Uttarakhand had the potential of generating 20,000 to 25,000 Mega Watt of electricity. By Ashish Goel

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