NTPC Tapovan project estimated to suffer massive losses
The National Power Thermal Corporation Ltd (NTPC) has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 1,500 crore at its Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project after suffering heavy damage from the Uttarakhand glacier burst, and its commissioning, which was scheduled in 2023, is expected to be delayed, said Union Power Minister RK Singh.
The minister visited Tapovan to assess the extent of damage at the project site, a day after the glacier burst in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.
The minister said that damages caused to the project were estimated at around Rs 1,500 crore, but ruled out any chances of the project being scrapped. The overall cost of the project is Rs 13,500 crore.
Lakhs of tonnes of silt is deposited at the project site, and the time it will take to desilt it has put a question mark on the project's commissioning in 2023, Singh told media sources.
NTPC stated that 120 workers were on the roster at the NTPC project, while three bodies have been recovered from the site till now. Earlier media reports had indicated that the flash floods had washed away the dam and office, accounting for about 60% of the completed construction work. Estimates of damage at that time, on Sunday, stood at Rs 450 crore. Those reports had suggested that between 60% and 70% of the construction may have been lost.
As we reported yesterday, hundreds of workers have been missing and several have been rescued. A news report said 12 workers were trapped in a tunnel in Tapovan, where NTPC’s project is underway. Miraculously, one of them found that his mobile network was working, and seven hours after being confined in the tunnel Monday evening, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) rescued them. They are under treatment at an ITBP hospital in Joshimath, 25 km away.
A massive, round-the-clock rescue operation is underway. However, differing numbers have been emerging about the number of workers that could be trapped in the 12 ft high, 15 ft wide, 2.5 km long tunnel, which has offshoot tunnels within. Officials told media sources that they estimated that 34 were trapped in the main tunnel, while five could be in the offshoots. Latest figures indicate that at least 18 people have died in the tragic accident, which is now suspected to be an avalanche and not a “glacier burst”.
Image: Four hydro projects including NTPC’s 520 MW Tapovan-Vishnugad project are damaged.