Since 2009 Uttarakhand has been asking for just a Rs 500 crore additional Central assistance to finance shifting of 233 villages it said were situated at mouth of land slides. The cost of reconstruction of the state from its worst natural disaster since it was carved out in 2001 will now be several multiples of the sum.
But beyond the scale of human disaster the impact on the national GDP will be puny. The state accounts for just over 1 per cent of the national GDP (2011-12) ranking 19th among the 32 states and Union Territories in the country. Himachal Pradesh the other affected state comes in far later.
The main impact of the flood and consequent damage will be for agriculture and related sector within the states. Agriculture and related activities generate only Rs 6,436 crore (2011-12 figures) of value add for Uttarakhand,the figure for Himachal is similar at Rs 6,644 crore. Being hilly states the sector has however grown by less than 2 per cent every year since 2004-05 in both states. The sum is again less than 2 per cent of the value add for agriculture for the entire economy.
The power house of both the states is industry. In Uttarakhand the industrial sector has grown by 18.25 per cent every year in the last eight years,the highest in the country,if one excludes Sikkim. Of the total state GDP,industry accounts for over 38 per cent. Unlike other states,thanks to the tax holidays manufacturing is booming in the state and accounts for a shade less than 50 per cent of the size of these sectors in Punjab and even Haryana which had begun industrialising far earlier.
In the same regime of tax concessions,Himachal Pradesh too has prospered. Its annual industrial growth in the same eight year period has been 9 per cent,but still above the national average.
Preliminary reports do not suggest any major damage to the large scale manufacturing units But power production from the two states has been hit,though temporarily. The countrys largest hydro power station,the 1,500-MW at Nathpa Jhakri and the biggest private sector station,Jaypees 1,000-MW Karcham Wangtoo plant in Himachal are among those affected by the deluge in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh,which has consequently affected generation in the northern region.
Initial estimates suggest that over 30 per cent of the cumulative generation capacity of 6,330 MW in the two states has been affected,with generation being impacted largely due to high silt levels and not necessarily due to any structural damage. During the last couple of days,silt levels at Nathpa Jhakri was reported to be higher than 4,000 parts per million (ppm),against the normal 1,500 ppm,forcing Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam,which operates the plant,to shut it down in a bid to avoid damaged turbines. Also,some projects that are under construction on the Mandalinki river in the Rudraprayag district,including L&T Hydro 99 MW Singholi Bhatwari project,have reportedly suffered damaged.
Two hydel projects of state-run Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL),6 MW Kaliganga-I and 4 MW Kaliganga-II,have been hit due to mudslides,according to UJVNL officials. Five other projects run by the state,including 90 Mw Maneri Bhali-I and 304 MW Maneri Bhali-II,have been shut down.
In Himachal,projects that have been shut down include state-run NHPC Ltds 280 MW Dhauliganga,120 MW Tanakpur and 390 MW Dulhasti. Public sector generator Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Ltd said its reservoir-based 1,000 MW Tehri project in Uttarakhand has not been impacted.
But analysts argue that the repair and reconstruction activities in the two states could prove to be beneficial for those who have survived. For instance Utaranchal had estimated that 233 villages in the state were threatened by land slides in a presentation to the Planning Commission,an analysis that held so true this week.