Kargil, Leh connected to national power grid! In a major push to the ‘One nation One Grid’ project’, the scenic frontier region of Ladakh has been connected to the National Grid for the first time since 1947, the is the year of Independence. The 220 kV Leh-Kargil-Alusteng Single Circuit transmission line spanning over 330 kilometres is ready, a government official told Financial Express Online. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the 220 kV Leh-Kargil-Alusteng Single Circuit transmission line in August 2014. So far Ladakh, which is located 3,000 to 4,500 meters above sea level, relied on local small hydro-plant and DG generation to meet the electricity demand of the residents as it was not connected to any power grid of the country.
Connecting Ladakh to the national grid, the transmission line was built through harsh and hilly geographical terrains. The weather in Ladakh is chilly and harsh all year round. One of the major achievements of this project is building sub-stations in some of the highest altitude passes, and military zones close to Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. Four 220/66 kV GIS Sub-stations were set up at Drass, Kargil, Khalsti, and Leh.
The main challenge for engineers and officials was that the transmission line passes through the mountainous routes with high wind zone and avalanche prone areas. Ground access in the region is cut off every winter due to unpredictable avalanches that block the roads. The project involved making raised chimneys for maintaining ground clearance, retaining wall and strengthened tower designs, the official told Financial Express Online. The central government was assisted in the project by Jammu and Kashmir government and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, the official said.
Union Power Minister RK Singh has termed this as “a significant milestone”. Singh exuded confidence that from now on residents of Ladakh will be able to “access as much power as they need”, adding that the central government has fulfilled the desire of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
POWERGRID, which is a government of India Navratna Enterprise, was entrusted with the responsibility. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the proposal for construction of the line in January 2014. The aim of the project is to improve the reliability of power supply through inter-connection with the Northern Grid of Ladakh as it is a key area of defence establishments and hence of strategic importance.