IN a setback to the construction of the 48 MW hydel project at Lower Kalnai, a tributary of Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, a bund to divert river waters into the diversion tunnel was washed away Friday morning in flash floods caused by heavy rain across the state.
Construction of the hydel project is being undertaken by the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC) through Coastal Projects Limited that was appointed EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractor in September 2013. The project was to be commissioned by September 2017.
JKSPDC general manager Anil Sharma said he had heard about damage to the diversion bund. “In the last rainy season, too, water in the flooded Chenab tributary passed over the bund,’’ he added. “However, I am yet to get any message from the spot,’’ he said, adding that it was a “kuccha bund’’ for diverting river waters to pave way for the construction of the concrete dam. “We will have to reconstruct it once the water level dips,’’ he added.
Sources, however, said that apart from the bund, several equipment, including earthmovers, were washed away. Heavy damage has been caused to the project site, they added.
Significantly, at a meeting of Permanent Indus Commission earlier this year, Pakistan had objected to ongoing construction of Lower Kalnai and 1000 MW Pakal Dul hydel projects, saying that these were in violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty between the two neighbouring nations.
The Lower Kalnai project involved construction of a 3960-m long and 4.7-m diameter tunnel and a 60-m high concrete dam. Sharma said work at the project was at a standstill as government was yet to respond to the contractor’s request for two more years to complete the work. If granted, the project will be completed by 2021, he said, adding that so far only 10-15 per cent of the work has been completed.