Missing Deadlines of Kol Dam
The country’s ambitious 800 MW Kol Dam Hydropower Project, constructed by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), has failed to impound a single drop of water even two months after filling up of the reservoir. Generating electricity is a far cry; even impounding water in the lake has become a distant dream. Technical experts despite their best of efforts have not achieved success to shut the gates of diversion tunnels ‘Lav-Kush’ of Satluj River. However the corporate office came into action when the news about the same was published in Divya Himachal in December. The higher officials at Delhi took a class of officials of Kol Dam Project and directed them to bring the entire system on routine, but sadly nothing changed thereafter too. According to sources, efforts to impound water in the project by shutting the gates of diversion tunnels began as early as in January. But despite shutting the gates of tunnels, water is percolating through tunnels. As a result water is seeping to the mountain of Kyan village and probability of a landslide too can’t be ruled out in future. It will take around next four to five months to complete the repairs and only after that the filling up can start, revealed a company official. Notably, the water flow of Satluj River increases predominantly in summers and it becomes extremely difficult to control the same. For the construction of the main dam, Sutlej River has been diverted by constructing twin tunnels Lav and Kush (named after the sons of Lord Rama) of 1-km length each and both these tunnels were provided gates at inlet. The leakage problem at diversion tunnels is turning out to be the biggest challenge for the management at present. The management is claiming to have solved the problem of gates malfunctioning, but the target of electricity generation by December 2014 seems not viable by the end of 2015.Despite several attempts, Public Relation Officer of the Company Praveen Ranjan Bharti could not be contacted for comments.
Project Marked by Delays
The 800-MW Kol Dam, with an outlay of Rs 5,600 crore, was the first hydropower project undertaken by the NTPC. Its foundation stone was laid by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on June 5, 2000. The NTPC was to start power generation by 2008. The state government on activation of the project will get 12% free electricity, 15% at the cost of production and a further 2.5% in grid allocation. It has been more than 13 years to construct the 163-metre-high rock fill dam (the major component of the dam) which has been constructed on the border of Mandi and Bilaspur districts on the Sutlej River. It was more than seven years delay and the state government has had to incur a loss of more than Rs 1,000 crore. Even then, no penalty clause has been inserted in the agreement signed between the government and the project authorities.
Libraries to be Digitised
In a bid to take books beyond the four walls of libraries, the Central government has taken an ambitious move to foster reading habits which are on decline and provide better research facilities to students at the click of their mouse. Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Government of India has drafted a vision to convert public libraries into western-style digital libraries. It is the digital age and hence an urgent need to transform the physical books into virtual ones. At present, Motilal Nehru Centre-State Library at Solan is one of the oldest libraries of the state and was established on June 29, 1959. Till 1973 it was running a certificate course in Library Science and also initiated the mobile library project for rural people who are fond of reading. There is one state library in Shimla besides seven district libraries. Stating this to Himachal This Week, Suraj P Nagpal, State Librarian, who has recently attended a meeting of the National Mission on Library held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, said that the Centre State Libraries across the country would be equipped with network connectivity which would facilitate the conversion of physical materials of rare nature; historical background and heritage importance into digital copies. The project has been assigned to the National Mission on Libraries and the government has allocated Rs 400 crore for this purpose. The mission envisaged the new-age library systems and was all set to digitize around 35 central state libraries of 28 states and union territories along with six libraries directly under the ministry. Furthermore, a total of 629 district libraries across the country would also be converted into digital libraries with special emphasis on economically backward districts, he said. The mission will also create National Virtual Library of India-a new knowledge centre. “New-age library system will be in place within three years and provide speedy access to books of all libraries on their computer screens 24 hours,” stated the official. While talking to some students of Panjab University who come to the library said the move will definitely beneficial to the reading lover and will bridge gap between time and space. “Most of the time I have no time to visit library as I am preparing for the civil examination. The move will bring all the state libraries on our computer screens,” said one of them. The move will benefit all categories of readers-students, researchers, scientists, teachers, professionals, children, artists and disabled who find it difficult to visit the library. “Senior citizens and disabled who are fond of reading but cannot make it to the libraries and other who have no time to go through every page of the book, the move will be a step forward,” said Sikandar Singh, a senior citizen. The mission will create a baseline data of libraries through a quantitative and qualitative survey of 5,000 libraries to collect detailed information. The project will take approximately five years to complete and become functional. Digitization of libraries would definitely provide speedy access to information and would help in bridging barriers of time and space, said official of the Ministry of Culture.