4-laning to blame, Himachal seeks Rs 658 cr from NHAI for loss to Larji project : The Tribune India

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4-laning to blame, Himachal seeks Rs 658 cr from NHAI for loss to Larji project

4-laning to blame, Himachal seeks Rs 658 cr from NHAI for loss to Larji project

The Larji project in Mandi district of Himachal. photo: Jai Kumar



Tribune News Service

Pratibha Chauhan

Shimla, August 7

The Himachal Pradesh Government has sent a Rs 658-crore damage report to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) seeking compensation for the devastation caused at the 126-MW Larji hydel project allegedly due to the construction of a double-decker four-lane road.

Double-decker road ‘behind’ damage

  • HP has blamed double-decker four-lane road for the damage
  • Alleges NHAI entered 4 metres inside riverbed for construction
  • As the Beas got narrower, the recent heavy rain caused silt to enter the hydel project

Highly placed sources said the damage report had been sent by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu to the office of the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari. Being executed by the HP State Electricity Board (HPSEB) in Mandi district, the project had suffered extensive damage after silt entered inside following the torrential rain that lashed the state from July 9-11.

Himachal has pleaded that as the generation had been stopped and was unlikely to be restored before December, the state was suffering major loss in revenue. The damage was assessed by a team headed by former Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh, an adviser to the CM, along with the Mandi and Kullu Deputy Commissioners. The report was forwarded to the state government for further action.

Himachal has contended that the NHAI entered four metres into the Beas to construct the double-decker road. Officials said as the Beas riverbed turned narrower at that point, the issue regarding the probability of flooding had been raised in 2019 with the NHAI, but it “didn’t pay heed”. The officials also said the capacity of the river below the Larji dam stood at 8,500 cumecs, but the Beas level remained at a mere 5,600 cumecs even after the release of additional water from the project following the heavy rain. “This only proves that the release of water from the dam in no way resulted in the rise of the Beas level,” explained an official.

After the downpour, the water level in the Beas rose four metres above the road. “The riverbed is at 894 metres and the maximum estimated water limit in the river is 904 metres. The double-decker road is located at a height of 910 metres. But after the flooding, the water level rose to 914 metres, resulting in silt entering the project,” the report said.

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