Peringalkuthu Dam | Photo: Maneesh Chemancherry| Mathrubhumi
Kannur: Many small hydropower projects started years ago have come to a standstill and this is likely to worsen power shortages in the future. Some projects including private initiatives are moving in a slugginsh pace causing huge losses.
According to a report by Jacob Muthirendikal, former project manager of the Pallivasal project, all these projects together have caused a loss of over Rs 30,000 crore. At present, the state is buying power worth Rs 8,680 crore from outside.
The 60 MW Pallivasal project, which started on March 1, 2007, was expected to be completed by March 1, 2011. It was supposed to generate 14.4 lakh units of electricity per day. At Rs 5 per unit, the eight-month production loss alone would be Rs 173 crore. Likewise, 11 years of production loss will be 1903 crore. The loss from Pallivasal project alone is estimated at around Rs 4,000 crore.
At least half of the 128 small hydropower projects with a total capacity of 805 MW, have not started yet. Then the loss would be at least Rs 30,000 crore, even if half of the projects are counted. Items brought in for various projects were rusted and destroyed. Environmental issues hindered the 40 MW Pampar project and the 30 MW Achankovilar project. The 24 MW Chenkulam Augmentation Project was halted due to a technical glitch.
Mankulam, Upper Chenkulam, Kakkadampoyil, Karikayam, Keezharkuthu, Nakkayam, Chinnapparambu Thodu, Kaithakolli Diversion, Kannankuzhi, Valanthodu, Chembukatti, Lower Vattappara, Thoomboormuzhi, Upper Peringal, Parakkadavu, Anakkayam, Bavali Puzha Second Phase, Chembukadavu-3, Chittoor upper, Kanjirakkolly-1, Palchuram, Marmala, Palchuram, Western Kallar, Karimpuzha and about 100 other projects were stopped halfway or early.
Many private hydropower projects are located in the forest area and cannot be started without the permission of the Forest Department. The Peringalkuthu project was scheduled to be completed in 2017 and the Chathankottu Nada project in 2012.
The 24 MW Bhoothathankettu project, which is expected to be completed in two and a half years, and the Thottiyar project, which is expected to be completed in three and a half years, are halfway through after 13 years. The Poonthenaruvi small project is expected to generate 25.77 million units. A total of Rs 72 crore was spent. The project, which started in 2017, will receive only 16 million units.