Northeast suffering from power crisis, says Tripura minister

Agartala, March 19 (IANS) India’s northeast region has been hit by a severe power crisis for two weeks with prolonged dry spells leading to falling water levels in rivers and reservoirs of all the major hydel power projects, a Tripura minister said here Tuesday.

“Most of the hydel power projects in the northeastern region have either stopped power production or reduced generation to a large extent due to severe scarcity of water in their reservoirs, making the situation worse,” state Power Minister Manik Dey told the state assembly.
“After the four-month monsoon period (June to September) last year, there was no rain or the rainfall was extremely scanty. Water flow in the major and medium rivers has decreased to a great extent,” he said.
“The water level in reservoirs of the power projects has gone down significantly, severely affecting their power generation capacity,” the minister added.
He warned that the situation might deteriorate further if the region did not receive rain within the next few weeks.
The minister said that in view of the power crisis, irrigation and drinking water supply have been affected in the region. However, priority of supply of power from the available power has been given to drinking water and irrigation sector.
An official of the Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited (TSECL) told IANS that the rainfall was much less than normal in the last monsoon and during the pre-monsoon season this year.
“The demand and power supply gap ranges between 60-70 percent in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim,” the official said.
“The electricity demand has risen by 25-30 percent due to soaring temperatures coupled with high humidity,” the TSECL official said.
The peak hours demand of power in the northeast region is around 2,300 MW.
According to Dey, the major hydro-electric projects in the northeastern region include Nagaland’s Doyang (generation capacity 75 MW), Assam’s Kopili one and Kopili two (200 MW and 25 MW) and Khandong (50 MW), Manipur’s Loktak (105 MW) and Arunachal’s Ranganadi (405 MW).
“The generation capacity of all the five hydel power project has came down to one fourth to one fifth. More over, these projects are being running only few hours of a day,” Dey added.
Tripura’s lone mini Dambur hydel power project (8 MW) has been stopped generating power for several months due to water crisis.