Despite objections from the Chinese army, the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board has installed towers for electricity cables from Shipki village to a forward post manned by Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) along the China border.
The Chinese army, manning the international border along Lahaul Spiti and tribal Kinnaur district, had raised objections last month to the towers being erected to electrify its border post close to the China- controlled Tibet.
“Towers have been installed, but power lines are yet to be fixed,” senior security officials told Hindustan Times. Following Chinese objections, installation of electricity board had initially stopped work on power lines, but it was resumed after a few days.
The Chinese army had questioned the alignment of towers claiming that some of them were installed within its boundary. Reports had said that the Chinese army during aerial reconnaissance had detected that some of the towers were within its boundary.
The work on 22-KW electricity lines connecting Namgia to Shipki was started in May this year. The total length of the line is 22 km and the cost is estimated to be rs 1 crore.
Under the Border Area Development funds, the ITBP had allocated the work to HPSEB to instal electricity lines along the border. The work on the lines was supposed to be completed before October, but it appears that Chinese objections have certainly delayed the work. “I have sought a report from the local HPSEB officials on the progress of the work,” said HPSEBL chairman and managing director Pratap Negi.
The work was set to be completed within the month of October. “My information says that the work is still pending on about 2 to 3 km of electricity line stretch,” Congress legislator from Kinnaur and Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Jagat Singh Negi said while adding that the completion of work depends upon the company that has been assigned the work to lay the power lines.
In the wake of objections from China, the Himachal Pradesh government had directed Kinnaur deputy commissioner DD Sharma to submit a detailed report. The deputy commissioner in its report had said that towers were well within the Indian boundary.
Himachal Pradesh shares a 260-km border with China - 140 km along Kinnaur and 80km along the Lahaul and Spiti district.
Three battalions of ITBP guard the border and have 20 posts. Unlike in case of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, where border intrusions are frequent, as the two countries differ over the border definition, Himachal's border along China has been largely free of incidents.