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Rishiganga hydro project washed away by glacier burst

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: February 07, 2021 22:24 IST
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A 13.2 MW small hydro project on the Rishiganga river was swept away in the glacier burst in Uttarakhand on Sunday, but there is no danger of floods in the downstream areas as the water level has been contained.


IMAGE: Locals inspect the site near damaged Dhauliganga hydropower project at Reni village, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, on Sunday. Photograph: PTI Photo

This was conveyed to the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, at an emergency meeting held in New Delhi on Sunday evening.

The NCMC was also informed that people trapped in a hydro project tunnel were rescued by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), while efforts were on to rescue those trapped in another tunnel.

The operation was coordinated by the Army and the ITBP, an official spokesperson said.

All-out efforts are being made to ensure that all missing people are traced and accounted for.

The glacier burst led to a rise in water levels in the river Rishiganga, which washed away the Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW.

The flash flood also affected the downstream hydro project of NTPC at Tapovan on the river Dhauli Ganga, which is a tributary of the river Alaknanda, the spokesperson said.

However, there is no danger of downstream flooding, and the rise in water level has been contained, as per the information given by the Central Water Commission (CWC).

There is also no threat to the neighbouring villages.

IMAGE: Damaged Dhauliganga hydropower project at Reni village. Photograph: PTI Photo

At the same time, the agencies concerned of the central and the state governments were asked to keep a strict vigil on the situation, and a team from the DRDO, which monitors avalanches, is being flown in for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The managing director of the NTPC has been asked to reach the affected site immediately.

Two teams of the NDRF have been sent and three additional teams have been flown in from Hindon airport in Ghaziabad.

The troops will reach the affected region tonight.

More than 200 ITBP personnel are on the spot, and one column of the Engineering Task Force (ETF) of the Army, with all rescue equipment, has been deployed.

The Indian Navy divers are being flown in and aircraft and helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are on standby, the spokesperson said.

The NCMC met to review the situation arising out of the natural disaster in Uttarakhand.

A part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Sunday, leading to a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and causing large-scale devastation in the upper reaches of this ecologically fragile Himalayan region.

The chief secretary of the Uttarakhand government briefed the NCMC through video conference on the ground situation as well as the action taken by them after the incident to evacuate people and contain the damage caused by the flooding.

The India Meteorological Department informed that there is no rainfall warning in the region for the next two days.

The cabinet secretary directed the agencies to work in close co-ordination and extend all requisite assistance to the state administration.

IMAGE: Washed away barrage of Rishiganga power project in Neeti valley. Photograph: PTI Photo

He emphasised the need to account for all missing persons and ensure that those trapped are rescued at the earliest.

Gauba directed that surveillance should be maintained till rescue efforts are completed and the situation returns to normalcy.

The meeting was attended by the Union Home Secretary, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Director General of the ITBP, members of the NDMA, DG of the NDRF, chairman of the CWC, DG of the IMD and chairman of the DRDO, along with other senior officers.

According to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, seven bodies have been recovered while at least 125 people were missing. 

Around 200MW power supply to national grid cut from major plants

Around 200 MW of power supply to the national grid was affected due to the avalanche as local administration shut down two plants, Tehri and Koteshwar, as a precautionary measure.

The hydro power plants in the affected area are mostly under-construction or fall in small hydro project category which are of up to 25MW. These small hydro projects are mainly state owned.

An official on the condition of anonymity told PTI, "The local authorities have shut two power plants- Tehri and Koteshwar as a precautionary measure in view of the disaster. This has affected the overall power supply of not more than 200 MW to the national grid."

The official added that all big hydro projects (of over 25MW capacity) are mostly under-construction and there is no point of power supply disruption due to those.

However, it is feared that there is financial loss of crores of rupees due to the disaster as one of the dams at a big hydro power project of state-run NTPC was breached.

"One of the dams of big NTPC hydro power project at Tapovan Vishnugad was breached. The actual loss would be ascertained once the water recedes."

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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