NEEPCO’s Kameng project fails pre-commission trial

[ Taba Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, May 2: In a major setback to the Government of Arunachal’s effort to tap hydropower potential of the state, the 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project (HEP) of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) has hit hurdles due to damage to its penstock recently.
The Kameng HEP along with the 110 MW Pare Project was supposed to be commissioned by March this year.
According to the report, the incident occurred on 12 March last when turbines of the Kameng HEP was being charged.
When water was released from Tenga dam on 10 March, it started leaking from multiple places of the penstock, posing serious threat to the power station and NEEPCO establishment at Kimi under West Kameng district.
The leakage reportedly occurred due to faulty wielding work.
Sources told this daily that as per initial report, a two-inch gap has been found in the wielding work inside the tunnel, which led to the leakage of water.
The wielding work was carried out by contractor Om Metal for NEEPCO.
The inspection of damage is still underway and this may further delay the commissioning of Kameng HEP.
This also raises a serious question mark over the quality of the dam being executed by NEEPCO in the state.
Despite several attempts, the head of project (HOP), Kameng HEP could not be contacted due to poor phone service at Kimi, where its office is located.
So far, the NEEPCO has reportedly suspended the general manager civil for the leakage in penstock. However, after detailed enquiry more heads are expected to roll.
Further, the delay in commissioning will cause massive loss to the Government of India as well as the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. Some estimate put the loss to the tune of Rs 2000 crores for Government of India. The government of Arunachal is expected to lose Rs 200 crore from 12 % free power, which they are supposed to get from NEEPCO.
Also, the delay in commissioning of Kameng HEP will lead to massive escalation of the cost of project.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was supposed to visit Arunachal in the month of April to inaugurate both Kameng and Pare hydro electric projects.