PM lays foundation of 850 MW Ratle HEP

Assures full tapping of available Hydel Power Potential in JK; Announces additional 150 MW power to state to meet increased demands

KISHTWAR:   Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh today assured full tapping of Hydel Power potential available in Jammu and Kashmir, besides announced 150 MW additional Power to the state to meet the increased demand of power during the current season.

            The Prime Minister was speaking after laying the foundation of Prestigious 850 MW GVK Ratle Hydro Power Project being built over Chenab River at Drabshala, about 25 Kilometre from this mountainous Township.

            Second Mega Hydro Power Project in the district and third on River Chenab in Erstwhile Doda District, the 850 MW project is being developed on Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) mode by a Hyderabad based GVK Company and is targeted to be completed in 5 years.

            The State Power Development Corporation had invited on Tariff Based International Competitive Bidding for the 850 MW project  estimated to be completed at a cost Rs 5500 crore.

            The Prime Minister said that the state has already been drawing   1664 MW power from the centre owned generating stations adding that the centre has decided to give additional 150 MW power to the state to overcome the seasonal power deficiency.

            The PM described the laying of foundation of the new power project in the area as a new beginning in state’s endeavours to harness the huge 14000 MW power potential available in the state. He said   that so far projects generating only 2500 MW have come up in the state adding the Centre and state governments would make every endeavour to tap this huge potential.  

            UPA Chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Omar Abdullah, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Members Parliament, Ambieka Soni and Lal Singh and Choudhary Lal Singh, besides Minister for R&B, Abdul Majid Wani, Minister of State For Home,  Sajjad Ahemd Kitchloo, MLAs, Mohammad Sharief Naz and G M Sarroori  were also present on the occasion.

              The PM also mentioned that NHPC owned Nimo Bazgo and Chuttak power projects in Ladakh are supplying   89 MW power generated in these projects to the state itself.  He also said that the proposed Uri II power project in Baramulla would also be commissioned in near future adding that Rs 1629 crore project to lay Transmission line from Kashmir to Leh is under active consideration of the centre.

            He also made a mention about adoption of 5 ITIs by National Hydro Power Corporation (NPHC) for infrastructural Development and said it was mulling to adopt two more such Institutions in near future. He said besides, NHPC has also decided to establish a Hydro Training Institute at Kangan for which it has already signed a MoU with the state government.

            Asserting that peace and tranquillity are essential for development, the Prime Minister said that peace is gaining roots in the state and the year 2012 witnessed lowest incidents of violence in last two decades. However, he said that the incidents like one which happened yesterday in Srinagar are needed to be stopped completely. 

            Paying homage to the army personnel martyred in yesterday’s terrorist attack, Dr Singh said “I want to make it clear that entire country is united against the terrorists and such elements will never succeed in their evil designs”. He said that there was a need to instil confidence among the people and ensure their involvement in development and administrative affairs. 

            Listing developmental activities going on in the state, the Prime Minister said that centre and state governments were committed to restore peace in the state for sustainable development.

            He said that in the year 2004, the state was provided Rs 37000 crore package under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan for development of basic economic Infrastructure and up-gradation of essential services and to promote employment generating activities, besides rehabilitation and resettlement of Terrorism affected people.

            He said that it was highly encouraging that out of 67 projects taken up under this package, 34 have been completed, while the implementation of remaining projects is in full swing. 

            “Besides projects worth Rs 1000 crore are in implementation phase for meeting the developmental needs of Jammu and Ladakh regions”, he added.

            Referring to the steps taken for employment generation, he said that Himayat and Udaan schemes aimed at skill development of the youth of the state were producing encouraging results.  He said that special scholarship scheme for Jammu and Kashmir has encouraged the state youth to pursue higher education and even go out of state for achieving their goals.

            However, he said that all these endeavours and policies would produce optimum results only when democracy gains roots in the state and people participate in elections to strengthen democratic institutions. 

            Earlier, speaking on the occasion, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi congratulated the people for the start of work on the prestigious project and said it would open new venues for development of this part of the state and generate employment for the youth. She said that this was second big project coming up on the mighty Chenab River, recalling that the foundation of the first Hydel Power Project in the area at Dulhasti   was laid by then Prime Minister, Late Mrs Indira Gandhi in the year 1983. She said that late  Prime Ministers Mrs Gandhi and Mr Rajive Gandhi were deeply concerned for the development of this hilly area and wanted to see it  progress on all fronts. 

            Maintaining that the centre was making every effort to see the state of Jammu and Kashmir progressing on all fronts, she said that the UPA government provided liberal funding to the state for laying a massive road connectivity programme in the state. She said that Mughal Road connecting Jammu region with Kashmir Valley was among various such projects.  She said that the railway line linking Jammu region with Kashmir valley was another big achievement which would accelerate trade and commerce in the state besides opening new avenues for employment.   She also made a mention of Bhaderwah-Chamba road and said that it would provide another surface link to the state with rest of the country.  

            She said that the state was heading towards a new era of development as peace was gaining roots and youth of the state are  touching new heights with a large number  cracking   IAS and IPS service exams. She said that the youth of the state are highly talented and there was a need to channelize their energies in right direction. She said that programmes like Himayat and Udaan have greatly helped the youth to lead a dignified life by honing their skills. 

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