J&K Hydro-projects put on Fast-Track by India

The government of India is planning speedy construction of eight hydroelectricity projects in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir. They will have a total installed capacity of 6,352 MW at a projected cost of INR 567 billion (USD 9 billion).

These projects are Sawalkote (1,856 MW), Kirthai I (390 MW), Kirthai II (930 MW), Pakal Dul (1,000 MW), Kwar (540 MW), Kiru (624 MW), Bursar (800 MW) in the Chenab basin and the multi-purpose Ujh project (212 MW) in the Ravi basin. Their combined installed capacity is projected to be around double the current installed hydropower generation capacity (3,220 MW) in the state, from projects built over several decades.

Most of the new projects are in detailed project report (DPR) stage. That is the stage after the initial studies but before any major construction.

Presently, Jammu and Kashmir is the only state where development of hydropower is a priority. For example, the central power ministry gave the technical and economic clearance (TEC) for Sawalkote and Kirthai projects within weeks in 2016 following a dithering of over 50 years from when the projects were first identified in the 1960s.

Government of India has already issued grants to cover the entire financing of the projects to Jammu and Kashmir for completing three projects with a total capacity of 2,164 MW (Pakal Dul, Kwar and Kiru) by 2022-23 and has assured the state it will fund the rest of the projects within the next decade provided the state commits to joint ventures with Central Public Sector Companies like the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL) or others.