Himachal super power projects hit by silt again


Shimla : Fresh from the shock of the collapse of the northern grid ,  now high silt in the Sutlej river is affecting power generation in the country’s two biggest hydro-electric projects in Himachal Pradesh which feed this hungry grid .

High silt forced the shutting down of the 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri and the 1000 MW Karcham Wangtoo projects on Wednesday .

But generation has resumed once again Friday , but engineers of both the projects say they may have shut down soon again as the silt levels are on the rise . Silt is always the highest in the first half of August during the entire year .

Silt above a certain limit can corrode and damage the turbines so the engineers have no choice but to shut down until the waters of the Sutlej become cleaner .

The cause for higher silt levels is usually due to rapid melting upstream in the high mountains and also due to landslides lower down which turn the waters muddy downstream .

Nathpa is the country’s largest hydro project feeding the hungry northern grid . If it remains shut down the estimated loss to SJVNL the state run company running the project is Rs 9 crore per day .

Then there is the  adjoining 1000 MW Karcham Wangtoo project , India’s biggest hydro-project in the private project . It came into operation last year .

Even though the Wangtoo project has a capacity of 1000 MW , it  is usually able to generate 1200 MW .Wangtoo also feeds the northern grid .

In the past there have been periods when the Nathpa project has remained shut down for several days in August causing severe shortage of power .

Engineers at the project site are keeping a sharp vigil of the turbulent Sutlej river and looking for muddy waters which force the project to shut down .