Skip to main content

BJP's poll exigencies behind sharp dip in Narmada's hydropower generation

By Our Representative
Senior environmentalist Himanshu Thakkar of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has said that India’s “biggest dip” in hydropower generation has taken place in the Narmada dam’s 1,450 MW capacity, witnessing a reduction of 50.31% in 2014-15 compared to 2013-14. This was followed by a 35.9% reduction in power generation upstream dams on Narmada river situation in Madhya Pradesh, with a capacity of 1,520 MW, channeled through Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC).
Accusing the BJP-ruled Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments for this, Thakkar, in a recent analysis, titled “Diminishing returns from large hydropower projects in India”, has said, “One of the reasons for the reduced power generation at the Narmada dam and upstream Narmada projects of NHDC was the unjustified depletion of the reservoir before the 2014 parliamentary elections.”
Basing his analysis of the latest power generation figures just released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Thakkar said, “The hydropower generation during 2014-15 was 4.25% lower than the previous year’s generation even though the installed capacity went up.” He added, “Average generation per MW of hydro capacity in India in 2014-15 was over 20% less power than what our average generation was in 1993-94.”
Pointing out that this is not a one-year phenomenon, Thakkar said, SANDRP analysis based on the official data from CEA for total annual power generated by all existing operating large hydropower projects of India and total installed capacity of such projects, for each of the last 20 years from 1993-94, has drawn a trend line of power generation of big hydropower projects.
The trend line shows that “per MW generation in 2014-15 has dropped by over 20% from the generation figure for 1993-94”, Thakkar said, wondering as to why, despite being a serious matter, neither the CEA, nor the Power Ministry nor none of the other bodies, have analysed this. “The falling generation cannot be attributed to lower monsoon rainfall, since rainfall has been average or above average in most of the years under consideration”, he added.
Thakkar further said, “A separate analysis showed that 89% of the projects generate at below the design or promised generation level at 90% dependability. And among the underperforming projects, 50% were generating below the 50% of the promised power generation. And yet no questions were asked, no accountability fixed.”
Giving reasons behind reducing capacity, Thakkar said, “There are many reasons why the generation per MW is dipping: unviable projects, unviable installed capacities, over-optimistic hydrological assumptions, overdevelopment (development beyond the carrying capacity of the basin), catchment degradation, high rates of sedimentation, inadequate repair and maintenance, run of river projects, changing monsoon patterns due to climate change, etc.”
He believed, “Here it should be added that the destruction of forests, rivers, fisheries, biodiversity and submergence of lands is also making the impact of climate related disasters worse for the people and also for the hydropower projects, as could be seen during the June 2013 Uttarakhand disaster. All this needs to be part of our impact assessment and decision making process.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

PepsiCo warned: Withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers or face dire consequences

By Our Representative
About 200 farmers’ leaders and activists, in a letter to Dr KV Prabhu, chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), and Dr R C Agrawal, registrar general, PPVFRA, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, have demanded that PepsiCo immediately withdraw all the legal suits it has slapped on many potato farmers in different districts of Gujarat.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

During Emergency, the ruler was extolled but Opposition wasn't punched around: Scribe

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released book, “India: The Wrong Transition”, by a top Delhi-based scribe Anand K Sahay, has quoted “journalistic circles” to say that the Indian mainstream media – with certain “honourable exceptions” – has virtually abandoned the “practice of journalism”, and  this happened following a “sting operation” that showed that “the crème de la crème of Indian journalism were only too willing, for a suitable price, to let poisonous Hindutva propaganda prevail in their news columns.”

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".