The project suffers for lack of dependable evacuation system. Now PDC will use NHPC transmission line to improve yields from Sewa. A Kashmir Life report.

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The project – three units of 3 MWs each, is located at Mashka.
The project – three units of 3 MWs each, is located at Mashka.

Tapping Sewa rivulet in the Basholi belt of Kathua was on the priority list of the state policymakers for a long time. A tributary of Ravi, Sewa emerges from Himachal and is joined by a number of mountain streams. With an average width of around 250 meters, it runs for around 125 km before it joins Ravi. What distinguishes it from other mountain rivers is that it is a perennial river that has almost constant discharge.

At least three spots have been identified on this river for generating electricity after it crosses the state border and enters Bani belt. PDC decided to set up stage third (Sewa-III) and it is operational since June 2003. Stage II was transferred to the NHPC for implementation and the 120-MW project has been in operation for more than a year now. Stage I is awaiting implementation though part of the spade work including its DPR is ready. PDC has decided against implementing it directly and has recently advertised it to be set up through Independent Power Producers (IPP). Once ready, it will generate 8 MW of clean energy.

Initially, the project was supposed to be set up by a consortium led by an Austrian firm comprising six different companies. Led by Vovarlbarger Illwerke, the PDC signed MoU on August 10, 1998. In the presence of the Austrian Trade Commissioner in India Dr E Puerur, PDC MD J A Shahmiri and Dr H Rampitch signed the deal. But it fell flat, along with many other MoUs on the issue of guarantees. Later, a new process was initiated and Haryana-based company V A Flotech (now Andrtz Hydro) bagged the electro-mechanical contract as the PDC managed the civil works locally through different contractors.

The project – three units of 3 MW each, is located at Mashka. It gets discharge from Dulowa village through a 2891-meter cut and cover canal with a capacity of 30.62 cumecs. There is no pondage of water involved in the project as the canal lands in the forebay wherefrom the penstocks feed the three Francis turbines. PDC had to lay a road to reach Mashka which is the last hamlet on the Himachal border. This village is just a bridge away from Chamera.

The project’s first unit was formally inaugurated on June 25, 2002. While the second unit went into generation in October 2002, the last unit started generating power in June 2003. The project is facing certain small problems. Engineers on the site said a unit stopped working for a problem in the shaft and that took it time to replace. The other units also developed some snag which is being repaired and the problem is the availability of spares. Right now, only two units are operational.

However, the major problem that the project is facing is on the transmission front. It is synchronized with 33/11 KV Bhoond receiving station through 33KV line of around 10 km. Bhoond is connected to 132/33 KV Mahanpur grid through 70 km line passing through forests and hilly terrain. It results in frequent interruptions in the line leading to frequent tripping of machines at the powerhouse and causing generation loss.

Now the PDC is erecting a 3 km long 33KV line that will take the energy to the line that evacuates the energy from NHPC-owned Sewa-II which is just on the other side of the river. Necessary permissions from the respective agencies have been secured and the system will be in place after NHPC and PDC ink an agreement that might take a month more.

The project generated 92.88 lakh unit of energy in 2010-11 and 139.33 in 2011-12 which is the highest ever since the project went into operation. SERC has put a price tag of Rs 66.84 crore on the project that generates energy at Rs 2.16 per unit.

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