India’s first proposed hydro-electricity project to be built on a viability gap funding (VGF) basis and PPP mode appears to have fallen flat as the Mizoram government signs an MoU with the North-East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) to take up the planned project in northern Mizoram.
The project 210 MW Tuivai HEP was cleared in 2013 to become the country’s first VGF-based HEP in 2013, meaning the Centre was willing to foot up to Rs 750 crores of the total Rs 1,750 crores the project is estimated to cost.
The project was envisaged such that it fell under the state sector, meaning Mizoram would have the rights to use as much of power generated for its needs and sell the remaining as it deems fit.
But even then, plans fell through towards the end of last year as banks and private developers shied away from going ahead with the project, leaving the state government to look for other alternatives.
The Mizoram government and NEEPCO signed a MoU to hand over the project, one of Mizoram’s largest in terms of capacity, to the latter on Wednesday night.
The Tuivai HEP is meanwhile being opposed by local groups including the Hmar People’s Convention or HPC, a militant-group turned political party active in the Hmar tribe dominated regions of north Mizoram.
The HPC has said the dam would submerge farmlands of up to seven nearby villages.