Questions also being raised on role of SLDC

Following the tragedy on the Beas, questions are being raised on the role of private power producers in Himachal Pradesh and the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC).

The SLDC, an autonomous body, is tasked with monitoring power generation and it is on its recommendation that production is adjusted in all State-run projects, according to the Power Ministry.

An important question being raised is why are public sector power projects the only told to generate less power to save the Northern Grid from a surplus production. Also, at a time when the plains, including the National Capital Region, need more power, projects in Himachal Pradesh are being told to create less power even as the glacier-fed rivers are overflowing.

Another question that is being asked is whether the Mandi Divisional Commissioner, who is enquiring into the incident, will examine the role of SLDC in adjusting the generation schedule of public sector units and not of private projects.

Around 300 cusecs of water was released on Sunday by the Larji project to stop production on Sunday and divert its water to the main river instead of going from headrace tunnel to the power house.

According to sources in the State power ministry, the SLDC ordered closure of two of the three units (of 42 MW each) of the 126 MW Larji Project which resulted in the opening of the main gates of the dam since much less water is required to run the only remaining unit inside the project. A similar order was passed by the SLDC to public sector Bhaba, Giri and Parvati projects to reduce production as per requirements of the Northern Grid.

Independent power producers, sources said, were left free to produce any amount of power and reduced production by government-run projects helps them sell more power at higher rates. Private projects such as Jaypee’s 1000 MW Karcham Wangtoo produced around 1200 MW of power even during the scale down ordered by SLDC and Regional Load Dispatch Centre, according to sources.

The SLDC, which takes instructions from the Northern Grid RLDC and the National Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC), has claimed that the orders were issued on the latter’s instruction.

The NLDC had claimed there was no demand for power and hence generation needed to be stopped to save the grid from a possible collapse. This resulted in the Larji project cutting generation to one-third and releasing the surplus water into the Beas on Sunday evening when students from Hyderabad were on a break and taking photographs inside the river bed.

The State Committee of the CPI(M) has pointed towards a nexus between the SLDC and private power producers in the State.

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