The Central government Wednesday approved an investment of Rs 1,810 crore for the 210 megawatt Luhri Stage I hydroelectric project on the Sutlej river in Himachal Pradesh. The project is being developed near Nirath village along the Old Hindustan-Tibet road (NH-05) in Shimla and Kullu districts, and is expected to generate nearly 760 million units of electricity annually.
Investment for the project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, and includes a budgetary support of around Rs 66 crore from the Union government, Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said.
“The project will be commissioned in about five years and power generated from it will help in providing grid stability and improving the power supply position,” he said.
The project is being implemented by SJVN Limited, a joint venture of the Centre and HP government, on a build-own-operate-maintain (BOOM) basis.
Nand Lal Sharma, chairman and managing director of the PSU, said that the company first signed an MoU with the state government regarding the project in October 2008, when it was proposed to be a single-stage project. Later, the project was redesigned in three stages, comprising 210 MW Luhri Stage I, 172 MW Luhri Stage II and 382 MW Sunni Dam hydroelectric projects, he said, adding that MoUs were signed with the state government during the global investors’ meet held last year.
“Luhri Stage I is a run-of-the-river scheme in which an 80-metre-high concrete gravity dam would be built. This will create a reservoir of about six kilometres. For enabling the dam’s construction, the flow of the river will be diverted through a horse-shoe-shaped diversion tunnel,” Sharma said.
He added that a discharge of 644 cubic metres per second of water would enter the turbines, and SJVNL has planned to make a powerhouse adjacent to the dam on the right bank of Sutlej.
The MD said that around 2,000 people will be employed in the construction activities of the project, and the state will get free power of around Rs 1,050 crore during the project life cycle of 40 years. He claimed that the completed project would result in a reduction of 6.1 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide from the environment annually.
The project-affected families will be given 100 units of electricity per month free of cost for 10 years, and the area will receive an additional amount of local area development fund, he added.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted that approval of the “clean energy project” is a “big gift to the people of Himachal”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines