As the chairman of Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), A.B. Agrawal talked to Hindustan Times about his plans to develop a consensus amongst northern states for new capacity addition. Some excerpts:
After building world-class asset like Bhakra-Nangal Dam, what is BBMB doing to replicate such multipurpose projects?
For an energy-starved nation like ours, addition of power-generation capacity would always be welcome to bridge the ever-widening gap between supply and demand.
Multipurpose projects not only generate energy, but also provide other benefits such as irrigation, fisheries, tourism, etc which is the need of the hour in the country.
The technologies to tame and divert mighty rivers are available and are being practised by many hydro developers. The resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) issues for creation of huge reservoirs, which are characteristic features of multipurpose projects, pose a key challenge.
What are your plans for BBMB in the coming years?
BBMB is a glorious organisation, with its history intertwined with Nehru’s post-Independence quest to make India technically advanced and self-reliant. BBMB is generally perceived as a power generation entity with 2865 MW installed capacity and widespread 3705-circuit km transmission line network of up to 400kV level with 24 sub-stations. During my tenure in BBMB, I look forward to create consensus among partner states for capacity addition.
What’re your exact plans to add power generation capacity?
BBMB has strived to add generation capacity by undertaking Renovation, Moderni-sation and Uprating (RM&U) of BBMB power houses. We have already added 310 MW of low-cost hydro generation capacity through RM&U.
Another major RM&U of 540 MW Bhakra Left Bank Power House is currently under progress, which shall add 90 MW of low-cost green power by 2012.
BBMB power houses are built on river Satluj and Beas. Of late, a few other hydro projects are being constructed on Satluj. Is there an impact of these projects on generation from Bhakra?
Expeditious development of hydropower potential is need of the hour. So construction of HEPs on Satluj, right from the point it enters India at Shipki La, is welcome. However, no significant impact on generation at Bhakra is anticipated in the face of upstream projects — most of these projects are either run-of-river projects or carry small