New Delhi: As part of efforts to boost infrastructure in the Ladakh region, the government has started work on a Rs 1,200 crore project to connect the northern most tip of the country – the Nubra valley and highly remote central area – the Zanskar valley, with the national power grid.
Officials in Power Ministry said that the grid connectivity project would be taken up on war footing so that entire work is completed quickly bringing power to these remote areas that have to do with diesel gensets now. The tentative plan is to complete the projects within 2-3 years.
Nubra valley is popular on the tourist map but is it also strategically important region as it is sandwiched between Karakoram range and Siachen glacier in the north and Baltistan region of (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) PoK in the West. The eastern side is also flanked by high mountain ranges of Ladakh.
Zanskar valley, on the other hand is among the remotest area in Ladakh with its headquarters Padum located right in the middle of the union territory. This highly inaccessible area has seen little development so far and government is inclined to bring even this region to the national mainstream through a series of infrastructure projects.
As part of grid development plan, state-owner Power Grid Corporation is expected to set up 220 KV transmission lines passing through some of the worlds’ highest mountain passes and inhospitable terrains. The first line will link connections available in Dras, the words second coldest place with temperature falling to – 45 degree C in winters, to Padum covering a distance of about 200 circuit km. The second transmission line will extend network in Leh to Nubra valley passing through Khardung La pass, the worlds highest motorable pass c lose to Leh.
The linking of the two regions of power grid is expected to reduce the use of polluting diesel in these regions, that had become the mainstay of energy fuel there.
It may be noted that though Ladakh, mainly in Leh and Kargil areas, was getting power from NHPC run hydro power projects in the area since 2013, the capital got connected to national power grid only in 2013 when power grid opened the Srinagar-Leh transmission link.
Further expansion of transmission network is expected to boost the energy scenario in the union territory and also open ground for export of power from the region to other parts of the country. Already there is plan to develop a green corridor involving solar projects Ladakh. Power from these projects could be pulled by the national grid for use in any part of the country.