For the youngsters, the Mall power house at Bhaderwah might be just a few year old. But the fact is that implementation of this project started in early sixties and the power house was commissioned in June 1965. A Kashmir Life report.
Then, a 350 watt station, it functioned till October 1987 and it stopped working as the outdated machinery was not replaced. Continued disuse relegated the vintage turbine into scrap that was disposed off – nobody knows where.
The new project was constructed almost at the same site and is fed by the same source. However the building is new, so are turbines and the canal.
Set up at Sarthingal, six kilometers from the town, the project is fed by Haldon stream. It is a small stream, a tributary of Neeru nalla that merges with Chenab. Around 30 cusecs of water is tapped at Sarthangal and taken in a 2.5-km open conductor to a slope where, according to the basic design, a penstock with 240 meter head feeds three turbines of 0.5 MW each.
Of the three units, however, only two were commissioned in 2005. It was a major event in the recent history of the town that is gradually emerging as a better developed spot for tourism, given its climate and the landscape. While the civil part of the project was executed by the local contractors, the electro-mechanical part, including supply and installation of twin jet pelton turbines. It would feed a number of localities besides town’s essential services. Work on the third unit is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for trail runs later this fall.
Currently, only one unit is operational. In 2007 summer, the water conductor suffered a severe breach paralyzing the station. It remained closed between August 2007 and September 2011. After around 700 meters of the water conductor was rebuilt, the station was re-commissioned in October 2011. By then, however, the station lost grid synchronization leaving no option but to operate in isolation and limit to only one unit. Since then, the station is feeding a few small hamlets including Nalti Basti and Sarthingal. By now the power station has generated more than three million units of energy. For the last six months, its single unit is running at eighty percent load and generating 7000 units, every 24 hours.
SERC has put its cost at Rs 10.61crore and its tariff at Rs 1.61 per unit. The project generated 4.1 lakh units in 2011-12