Micro hydropower project in dumps for want of funds
Sometimes, small is the big idea. Short of energy, Punjab has sunk full power into building giant thermal-electricity plants at the cost of clean air and water when it should have gone for the micro hydroelectric systems (more kilowatts, less pollution). If only negligence had not killed the small experiment.punjab Updated: Jun 16, 2012 00:14 IST
Sometimes, small is the big idea. Short of energy, Punjab has sunk full power into building giant thermal-electricity plants at the cost of clean air and water when it should have gone for the micro hydroelectric systems (more kilowatts, less pollution). If only negligence had not killed the small experiment.
At Daudhar village of Moga district, a 25-year-old micro hydroelectricity system that served 26 villages has been shut for the past more than two years. The machines and generators, worth crores of rupees, has rusted because of disuse. Six months ago, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal ordered a high-level inquiry to pick culprits from the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).
Six months since that order, the PSPCL is yet to submit the inquiry report. "KD Chaudhary, chairman of the PSPCL, has decided to reopen the project," said Jagraj Singh, member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) from Daudhar. "The CM assured us the government was serious about the idea."
The contractor was responsible for the venture's decline, said chief engineer Amarjit Singh Sandhu, who leads the special inquiry team. "He did not maintain the expensive machinery, and when the entire system was damaged, he quit the project."
"We can repair of the entire machinery and revive the project," said Sandhu. "The employees found guilty should expect tough action." Contractor Narinder Singh denied the allegation and said the government had choked the supply of money to the project. "We faced many problems," he said, "and when the higher officials stopped listening, we shut the system."
How it works
All hydroelectricity systems capture the power of the flowing water and convert it to usable energy or mechanical force. The water flows via channel or penstock to a waterwheel or turbine where it strikes the wheel bucket, which rotates a shaft connected to an alternator or generator, which converts the shaft's motion into electrical energy. This electricity may be used directly. This system, when small, serves a cluster of villages. No big dams, or giant thermal-energy units required.