SJVNL justifies decision to scrap tunnel from hydro project

Shimla, Sep 23 (IANS) Hydropower major Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL) on Wednesday justified its decision to drop the plan for a “disputed” 38-km-long tunnel for its 610 MW project on the Sutlej river in Himachal Pradesh, saying there were technical hitches.

But it also admitted that the local groups were opposing the proposed tunnel of the Luhri hydropower project in upper Shimla.

“A sum of Rs.130 crore spent on formulating the detailed project report for the project initially was not a wastage and was spent on the required ground work,” SJVNL’s chairman and managing director R.N. Misra told reporters here.

He said there were technical hitches in the construction of 38-km-long tunnel and even the local NGOs were opposing it.

Facing local protests on environmental issues with the construction of the proposed tunnel and the World Bank’s refusal to provide $650 million, SJVNL has dropped plans.

The public sector company has now decided on a reservoir-based project that is expected to cost $1,150 million.

SJVNL on Tuesday announced that it recorded all-time high revenue of Rs.3,261.10 crore in the last fiscal, registering a 54.50 percent increase over the Rs.2,110.72 crore earned during the same period of last fiscal.

The SJVNL has 14 hydropower projects in India, Nepal and Bhutan and are in different stages of constructions, beside operation of two hydro and one wind power projects.

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