The much-delayed renovation, modernisation and uprating (R&M) of unit No 2 of the Bhakra Dam left bank powerhouse has been completed and the unit is pumping an additional 20 lakh units daily during its testing period.
The work, which was to be completed in seven months from April to November 2010, has taken more than three years. The unit is likely to be declared commercially viable later this month after the scheduled 14-day trial run.
The R&M work of five units of the Bhakra left bank powerhouse to increase the capacity from 108 to 126 MW was to be taken up in April 2010 and completed in March 2013 by taking up one machine at a time. Each unit was supposed to take a period of seven months. However, the renovation work was considerably delayed.
Meanwhile, All India Power Engineers Federation chairman Padamjit Singh, in a letter to the union power minister, alleged that the work had suffered huge delays primarily due to the failure of the contractor, Andritz, and gross failure on part of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) chairman to control the contractor, who had played havoc with the schedule.
To make things worse, the BBMB made the mistake of shutting down unit 5 in December 2010 while the work of unit 2 was still incomplete. The work of unit 2 was delayed that affected the work of unit 5. The unit 5 which was to be completed in seven months had already taken 31 months and would take another three to four months for commissioning, Padamjit claimed.
He alleged that the overlapping shutdown of two units had caused a loss of 126 MW from December 2010 onwards due to the mismanagement by the BBMB chairman.
It has been alleged in the letter that the non-availability of unit 5 was a major factor why spillage occurred in 2011.