Rising silt keeps Himachal hydropower plants shut

Three mega hydropower plants in Himachal Pradesh remained shut for the second day Tuesday due to high silt level in rivers, triggering a power shortage in northern states.

The country's biggest hydropower plant, the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri power project, and Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corp Ltd's 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Project, both located in Kinnaur district, have been closed since Monday, project officials said here.

The silt level in the Satluj river, on which the Nathpa Jhakri power project is located, was more than the permissible limit, V.K. Verma, deputy general manager, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd that operates the 1,500 MW Nathpa-Jhakri project, told IANS.

He said the silt level rose due to heavy rainfall in the catchment areas.

Likewise, Jaypee's hydroelectric project located upstream of the Nathpa Jhakri project and NHPC's 300 MW Chamera stage II located on river Ravi in Chamba district have been shut.

The closure of the plants has led to a power crisis in the northern region. The northern power grid came under strain as the states procuring power from the projects were forced to overdraw from the grid.

The projects supply power mainly to Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

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