Tehri hydel plant gets off the ground, finally

Tehri , Uttaranchal, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:39am hrs
After nearly 35 years and an investment of Rs 8,000 crore, the Tehri hydroelectric plant one of the countrys largest and most controversial power projects on Sunday started commercial operations.

The first unit of 250 mw has been synchronised with the northern grid and was formally commissioned by Union power minister Sushilkumar Shinde here.

Uttaranchal chief minister ND Tiwari chose not to attend the function, apparently miffed over not being given equal importance as Shinde, officials said.

Shinde also laid the foundation stone of the Rs 1,657-crore Tehri pump storage project, which was approved by the Cabinet early this month.

All the four units of this project will be commissioned within the next two-three months. We have requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to come and dedicate these projects to the nation, Shinde told reporters here after commissioning the unit in the presence of Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) chairman RK Sharma and state power minister Amrita Rawat.

The construction of the project, which was first conceived in 1972, began in 1978. The project was shelved in the mid-1980s following protests from locals and environmentalists but was revived soon after. It was later handed over to THDC in 1988.

The Tehri hydro power complex would eventually have a capacity of 2,400mw.

This includes the 1,000mw Tehri dam and hydro power plant, the 1,000mw Tehri pump storage plant and the 400mw Koteshwar dam and power plant.

Located on the confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers, the project boasts of Asias highest rock fill dam of 261 metres.