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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Uttarakhand glacier burst: Govt estimates damage worth Rs 1,500 crore to project

The damage to the under-construction, run-of-river project has also made it difficult to ascertain how much time it would take to commission, the minister said.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: February 9, 2021 3:55:23 am
uttarakhand glacier, uttarakhand glacier burst, uttarakhand glacier burst news, uttarakhand chamoli glacier, Tapovan-Vishnugad hydropower project, Chamoli hydropower project, Uttarakhand hydropower project, uttarakhand chamoli glacier flood, uttarakhand chamoli glacier news,The Tapovan-Vishnugad project was scheduled to be commissioned in 2022-2023. (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

The flash flood in Uttarakhand has resulted in an approximately Rs 1,500-crore-hit to NTPC Ltd’s 520 MW hydropower project, Tapovan-Vishnugad, according to Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, RK Singh. The damage to the under-construction, run-of-river project has also made it difficult to ascertain how much time it would take to commission, the minister said.

Singh, who visited Tapovan on Monday to assess the extent of the damage at the project site, had said that estimated losses to the project were worth around Rs 1,500 crore, as per a PTI report. However, the Union minister ruled out any possibility of the project being scrapped, it added.

“But there is a question mark now on how long it will take to desilt it, as lakhs of tonnes of silt is lying at the project site,” PTI quoted Singh as stating. “As of now, it is difficult to say when we will be able to resume work at the site, and when the project will be commissioned,” Sigh said, according to the PTI report.

At the same time, the actual damage, including losses to the project, are still being assessed and the amount cited may not be final, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Power told The Indian Express. “At present, the focus is on rescue operations,” the spokesperson said.

The total cost of the project is Rs 5,867 crore, of which, expenditure till date is Rs 4,780 crore, the spokesperson added.

The project was scheduled to be commissioned in 2022-2023, according to the ministry.

Earlier on Monday, the minister had said that approximately 34 people were stuck in the tunnel and, while 70 meters had been cleared, around 180 meters were left to clear out.

Rescue operations are still underway to extricate those trapped in one of the project’s tunnels in the proximity of the dam. Bulldozers and heavy machinery are being used to clear the debris and silt from the tunnel. The first tunnel was cleared Sunday night.

The flash flood is expected to have impacted several hydropower projects in the area — Tapovan-Vishnugad and the 13.2 MW run-of-river Rishi Ganga Power Project were among the most severely impacted.

NTPC, meanwhile, informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday that the impact of the damage to Tapovan-Vishnugad “may not be considered material”, as per regulations of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The flood has impacted a part of the project, but “appropriate insurance cover” is available for the loss and damage caused, it said.

“However, considering the total size of operations of NTPC Limited (present standalone commercial capacity 51,310 MW and group commercial capacity 63,925 MW), the impact of above event on the company as a whole may not be considered material in terms of Para B of Part A of Schedule III of SEBI (LODR), Regulations, 2015,” it told BSE.

“We wish to also inform that appropriate insurance cover is available for the loss / damage caused, including unfortunate loss of human lives,” OM Metal Infra Projects, which was among two companies contracted for the Tapovan-Vishnugad project, told BSE on Monday.

Chamoli Disaster Management Officer Nand Kishore Joshi told The Indian Express that a total of 186 workers were missing on Monday, while around 20 bodies have been recovered so far. —(With PTI inputs)

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