Closed Hydropower Plant Of NHPC In Darjeeling Is Back To Life

Closed Hydropower Plant Of NHPC In Darjeeling Is Back To Life

After remaining silent for around two months, mainly due to ongoing political unrest, national hydropower giant NHPC’s 160MW TLDP stage IV in Darjeeling hills of northern West Bengal has come back to life again today. One more closed NHPC plant of 132 MW, there TLDP III, is also likely to start producing soon.

“Thanks to all concerned for cooperation that has helped us to turn on TLDP (Teesta Low Dam Project) IV today. TLDP III is also ready to run. We are waiting for the clearance from State Load Dispatch Centre(SLDC),” said Debajit Chattopadhyay, Executive Director NHPC.

As per existing system, NHPC sends a ‘schedule’ or report of preparedness to SLDC. It keeps track of power demand as well as supply from all sectors. Based upon that, SLDC allocates distribution and coordinates production to maintain proper balance between demand and supply.

“We have already filed our ready report to SLDC about TLDP III and waiting for their green signal to start producing. At this season of monsoon with highly favourable water inflow, we can have very high level of output from both the plants,” said Chattopadhyay.

Incurring a loss of over Rs 2.5 crore a day, TLDP plants had to be closed down in mid July following agitation of mob supporting political movement and bandh in Darjeeling hilly region that started on the 9th June on demand of separate statehood.

“It is a national loss to have these plants out of production at this peak monsoon. Nothing can justify this,” said K. K. Mintri, Chairman, Terai Indian Planters Association. Saman Pathak, ex Rajyasabha MP and senior CPIM leader also echoed the same.

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But, as per agreement between NHPC and WB signed before inception of these projects over 15 years back, instead of usual system of taking 12% of the production for free as host, the then power starved Bengal preferred buying entire output at preferential rate. Eventually, from the beginning these plants remained target of the Pro-Statehood activists to put the state Government under pressure. Surprisingly, the attitude remained same even after Bengal’s dependency on TLDP got heavily minimised. Read more

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