In his endeavour to make Jammu and Kashmir self-reliance in power generation and achieve financial autonomy to move forward on road to progress and prosperity, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Wednesday laid foundation of 48 MW Lower Kalnai Hydro Power Project here and indicated setting up of 500 MW Thermal Project soon from the Coal Block allotted by the Government of India to the State for generation of thermal power.
Addressing a public meeting after laying the foundation of Lower Kalnai HEP, the Chief Minister said that indigenous generation of hydro energy is the right initiative to achieve economic goals and generate substantial employment and business activities for youth particularly in far-off villages and remote areas.
“We have targeted generation of 9000 MWs of power within next 7 to 8 years and necessary edifice has already been laid to achieve this stupendous task,” he said and added that the projects for generation of 2000 MWs of hydro electricity have been cleared and are under various stages of implementation.
He said local generation of 9000 MWs would not only enable the State to provide 24×7 electric supply to domestic consumers and industry but its export would generate enough funds to launch wide-ranging development projects in various sectors of development. “It would also help to generate large scale employment and give rise to various economic activities across the State”.
Omar Abdullah said that power generation sector has been flagged as significantly important sector by the coalition government. He added that the harnessing of this sector which was left under focused hitherto promises bright and prosperous future to the State and its people.
“Though the gestation periods of the dozens of power projects cleared by my government under various modes are longer and will not necessarily benefit the present dispensation by way of receiving vote bank support of the people, yet the only aim of my government is to seek sustained economic prosperity and financial autonomy of the State”, he said and listed the measures put in place by his government to harness vast available hydro electric potential of the State.
The Chief Minister said that the power companies have been given strict directions to employ locals in project implementation works. He said power companies have also been roped in to be partners in 7 ITIs so that required skill development programmes are run in these institutions and befitting technicians and skilled youth are produced to get absorbed in upcoming power projects. He said power companies have also been directed to allot feasible works to the local contractors and transport operators so that the economic benefits accrue to various categories.
The public meeting was also address by Minister of State for Power, Vikar Rasool and MLA Inderwal G. M. Saroori.
Among others who were present MLA Kishtwar Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo, MLC Najeeb Suharwordhy, Commissioner Secretary Power and others.
48 MW Lower Kalnai Hydro Electric Project is run of the river projected located on Lower Kalnai Nallah, a tributary of the Chenab River in Thathri town of District Doda about 200 kilometres from Jammu. The project envisages construction of a concrete gravity dam of 49 m height across Lower Kalnai Nallah at Dunadi about 200 m downstream of the confluence of Upper Kalnai and Kangunegad Nallahs. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 576.87 crore and is scheduled to be completed in 4 years.