A major part of the energy needs of Nubra Valley are met by Sumoor mini hydel project, however, its freezing cold puts the plant out of action during winters. SHAMS IRFAN reports.
One has to cross the mighty Khardong pass and traverse the world’s highest motorable road to reach Sumoor village. Some 130 kilometres from Leh, Sumoor is located in the heart of famous Nubra valley.
Sumoor, which is mostly inhabited along the river Shayok and Nubra, is famous for its 132 Samstangling monastery, founded by Lama Tsultim Nima. Adjacent to the monastery Sumoor Mini Hydel Project is the main source of energy to five villages in the Nubra valley area. Commissioned in 1993, Sumoor has two turbo type turbines of 50 KW each. Like most of the Mini Hydel Projects in Ladakh Sumoor still uses now obsolete Hydro mechanical bell drive governors installed by Jyoti Ltd. Vadodra, Gujrat.
Total water discharge required to run both turbines is 260 litres per second. However during winters Sumoor is shut down for three months as water discharge is minimal, which is not sufficient for running even a single turbine. The turbines are water cooled. The project conceived in 1973-74 got delayed several times for various reasons including that of transportation of machines and material across Nubra valley. Sumoor Mini Hydel Project provides electricity to 550 households in five major villages in the area – Tiger, Sumoor, Trith, Lakjung and Pinchimik. The area is one of the few green patches in entire Nubra valley and most of these villages depend on agriculture for livelihood. These villages produce wheat, barley, peas etc. which are consumed locally.
During summers when water discharge in Sumoor Nallah that feeds the station is good both turbines are operated. However, during winters the Sumoor Nallah is frozen and all the five village are provided power, for electricity purpose only, from a 250 KVA diesel generator set located at Tiger village. Even when both turbines are run to full capacity, diesel generator sets are needed to meet the demand in the five villages which is around 200 KW. Sumoor project has installed capacity of 100 KW only.
SERC has put its cost at Rs 1.30 crore and its tariff at Rs 3.36 per unit. The project generated 66000 units in 2010-11 and 1.27 lakh units in 2011-12.