Silt levels rise: Four major Hydropower plants in Himachal Pradesh suspend generation

Shimla, July 11
Due to flash floods and the opening of floodgates by the 1200 megawatt Wangtu and 300 megawatt Baspa power projects in Kinnuar district, the 1500 megawatt Nathpa Jakhri and 412 megawatt Rampur SJVNL hydro projects were forced to suspend generation on Sunday morning.
The incessant rainfall and subsequent floods have hampered power generation in the 3412 megawatt power plants located on the Satluj and Baspa river basins in Himachal Pradesh. A source from the power project revealed that the floodgates of the Wangtu and Baspa power projects were opened on Sunday morning, resulting in a sudden rise in silt levels at the Nathpa Dam-fed 1500 megawatt Jakhri and 412 megawatt Rampur projects. This prompted the SJVNL administration to shut down both projects to secure the Nathpa dam and open the floodgates of the desilting chamber.
As a result, the water level in the Satluj river rose, leaving approximately two dozen migrant workers and local residents stranded. They were later evacuated by NDRF teams. Reports suggest that the Wangtu projects released water from the Wangtu and Baspa dams without informing SJVNL or issuing warnings downstream, leading to the flood situation.

Also read: Hydropower and Himachal Pradesh: The Twain Shall Never Meet

On Monday, Nand Lal Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director of SJVN, conducted video conference meetings to assess the preparedness at the 1500 megawatt Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station and 412 megawatt Rampur Hydro Power Station, prioritizing the safety of personnel and resources. The press release issued by SJVNL confirmed a significant increase in the water levels at the project locations.
Nand Lal Sharma emphasized the importance of ensuring people’s safety. He instructed the Heads of Projects to form High-Level Committees to closely monitor the situation around the projects and directed officials to take immediate proactive measures in case of any emergency caused by the heavy rainfall.
The SJVNL CMD urged people to adhere to the advisories issued by local authorities and avoid rivers and rivulets. He also advised checking weather updates before traveling, as the forecast predicted more heavy rainfall in the coming days.
It is worth mentioning that despite the significant water releases from three dams, the district administration did not issue alerts to caution people residing along the riverbanks. Notably, the 800 megawatt Koldam project on the Satluj river has not suspended its generation. Additionally, the floodgates of the Pandoh Dam were opened on Sunday in the state


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