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Hydro-projects in Himachal on terrorist hit-list,security upgraded

Hydro-electric projects in Himachal Pradesh are no longer safe and are soft targets for terrorists.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Jhakri |
March 20, 2009 2:11:21 am

Hydro-electric projects in Himachal Pradesh are no longer safe and are soft targets for terrorists.

The 1,500-MW Nathpa-Jhakri hydel project,one of Asia’s first mega project having an underground power station commissioned in 2003,is perhaps the most threatened hydel project in Himachal Pradesh. It supplies power to nine states,including Rajasthan,UP,Haryana,Punjab,Jammu and Kashmir,Delhi,Uttaranchal,Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Intelligence sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs confirm that the hydel projects,mainly those supplying power to the national grid,and whose sudden shutdown could bring all operations to a grinding halt,are easy targets of terrorists.

“It’s true that the Union Home Ministry has advised the state in this regard. The hydro-power companies have also been told to upgrade their internal security and restrict movement of personnel. Necessary steps have already been taken,” Additional DGP (CID) I.D. Bhandari confirmed.

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The Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) and management of the Nathpa-Jhakri hydel project have installed more than 50 close-circuit cameras and added additional manforce of security personnel. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),which is responsible for the security of the project,has upgraded and further tightened the arrangements.

Says N.C.Bansal,head of the Nathpa-Jhakri project,“All persons,including engineers and employees,have been issued photo I-cards. The entry of outsiders has been totally banned. The movement of the all persons,including select visitors,are constantly monitored through through the cameras and also by security officials.”

The only problem that the security personnel face at the project site is locational disadvantage. The area on the right bank,across National Highway (22) and its down-stream has no fencing and requires a close and constant vigil.

The police post in the project area has been provided reinforcement. The manpower has been upgraded and a few experienced personnel trained in intelligence gathering have been posted.

The Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam proposes to install underground studs at entry points and check posts.

This could help in stopping any vehicle that enters the project area without thorough checking.

Reports says since Nathpa-Jhakri project is considered an engineering landmark because of its distinctive features and large size,it is high on the terrorist hit list.

The 300-MW Baspa hydel project of Jaypee Group located in Kinnaur district,120-MW Bhaba hydel project in the same district,NHPC’s Chamera project (Chamba),126-MW Larji project near Kullu and half a dozen other major projects have also been brought under special security network owing to the threat perceptions.

The upcoming elections and holding of the four IPL matches is yet another pressure on the state’s police,which is expected to keep the force on its toes.

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