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8 years on, vital Alastaing grid station awaiting completion

Srinagar, Feb 18: Eight years after inauguration, work on the Alastaing grid station is still incomplete, delaying the possible improvements in the Valley’s power scenario.

The work on Alastaing grid station was started in 2010 for transmission of electricity to Ganderbal district.

 

However, the project has missed many deadlines over the years.

An official of the Power Development Department (PDD) said there was “immense load” on Pampore and Zainakote power grids, which supply electricity to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.

“These two power grids face overloading, resulting in frequent power cuts in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts. Presently, Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station, which remains overloaded,” the official said.

“If completed, the Alastaing grid station would have reduced the load on the two existing power grids and helped to improve power supply in the valley.”

In December last year, the government of India announced an allocation of additional 792 MW for Jammu and Kashmir during winters.

However, the official said, the additional allocation could be useful if only “we have the required infrastructure”.

He said the state would get benefitted from the additional allocation only when the Jalandhar-Leh transmission line and Alastaing grid station are complete.

Sterlite Power Grid Ventures Limited (Sterlite Grid), a private company, started the work on Jalandhar-Leh power transmission line, including setting up towers in the rough terrain of Pir Panjal ranges, in 2016.

The legislators cornered the Power Department in the recently concluded Assembly session for “failing” to complete the grid stations and electricity transmission lines in the state.

Recently, the Power Minister, Nirmal Singh, said the department was “striving” to complete the grid station and transmission line before December 2018.

However, sources within the PDD said the department had sought tenders many times for completion of Alastaing-Mir Bazaar transmission line.

“In 2012, the cost of the tender was Rs 45 crore. After the contractors didn’t show any interest in the work, the government one again called for tenders. The completion period set for the work is 18 months,” a source said.

“How can the project complete by December when the period mentioned in the tenders is 18 months?”

Chief Engineer, System and Operation PDD, Khursheed Ahmad Budoo, said that project was expected to be completed by the end of this year.

“Tenders have already been allotted and work is going on,” Budoo said, refusing to comment over the delay in completion of the project.