Hydro Projects
The Environment and Forests ministry in a recent decision has cleared the stage-I forest clearance to a redesigned Luhri project involving an investment of Rs. 7,137cr with the installed capacity scaled down from 775MW to 588MW in order to address environment concerns. In this connection, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the ministry has also recommended the project with a rider that minimum mandatory discharge to be maintained in the river at all times be 25% as against the normal 15% during lean periods and 30% during monsoons. The reduction in discharge available for power generation forced the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN), the executing agency, to scale down the project from 775MW to 588MW.

According to official sources, the revised project will devour 271 hectare of forest land along with 7,475 trees for which the SJVN will have to deposit Rs 20.5cr as net present value (NPV) and an amount of Rs 5.50cr for compensatory afforestation. In the process, water will be diverted by constructing an 86-m high and 231-m long dam across the river near Nirath, downstream the 412MW Rampur project. A gross head of 220 m will be utilised for generating 2,244 million units of electricity annually as compared to the 3,142 million units earlier. There will be no de-silting chambers and sedimentation over 7-km-long reservoir will take care of it. The power house at Luhri will have three generating units of 196MW each with per megawatt cost comes to more than Rs 12cr, which is on the higher side wherein the generation cost will be around Rs 7 per unit.