In what could be a perfect example of awful planning and execution of a project, the State government has decided to sell the Potteru Small Hydro Electricity Project before it goes into operation.
“The decision to sell the Potteru SHEP has been taken at the highlevel. The proposal has been sent to Department of Water Resources for vetting. We will go in for an open tender for sale of the project,” said Sahadev Khatua, Managing Director of Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC).
According to sources in Energy Department, Potteru SHEP with a capacity of 6 mw was transferred to OHPC on April 1 1996 and the total expenditure up to 2009 was Rs. 37.02 crore. However, due to insufficient flow of water and the weak embankment of canal, the project was not found to be feasible to generate more than 1.5 mw. Worse still, the OHPC spends Rs. 52 lakh per year for keeping watch on expensive machineries installed in the project. The area is affected by Left wing extremism.
“The Left wing extremism in the area is a big concern. Project engineers and contractors are scared to work there. Besides, some operational issues are also involved. Evacuating power through a forested corridor is also difficult task. On a whole, the project does not seem to be feasible,” said Mr. Khatua.
Potteru, situated in Malkangiri district bordering Andhra Pradesh, is a canal-based SHEP which was first approved by Planning Commission way back in 1981.
Two generation plant was conceptualised with a 3 mw capacity each. In 1992-93, the civil construction of the project was started. In 2007 the first test synchronisation of the project was carried out.
In between, canal embankment connected to project crumbled. Once, canal embankments were repaired.
But, it was later realised that inflow of water into canal system would not always be sufficient for running the SHEP. Now it has been decided to sell the project on as is where basis.
The proposal has been sent to Department of Water Resources for vetting