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Commissioning of two Bhakra units delayed
Punjab and Haryana may not get expected peak load relief from the BBMB during hot and humid summer as there has been further delay in the commissioning of Bhakra left bank units 2 and 5.

The renovation and modernisation (R&M) work of all the five Bhakra left bank units was to be completed by March 2013 in a phased manner, but the work on first two units, to be completed within one year is still lingering. There has been an overrun of more than two years.

A number of completion schedules had been announced by the BBMB in last two years. The last revised scheduled expired on May 21, and now one unit is scheduled for June end and other unit for July end.

According to sources, the renovation work of unit no. 2 started on April 26, 2010 was to be completed within the 11th five year plan. It can now be expected earliest by August, and unit 5 will take further another three months.

Non availability of these two units due to slippage caused loss of peaking power. It was also one of the factors due to which spillage took place at Bhakra in 2010 and 2011. This year the water level in Bhakra is 478.58 meters and corresponding water level on corresponding day last year was 468.74 meters.

On 26 April, the IMD issued a long range forecast of 98% monsoons which implies that mean inflows can be expected at Bhakra. With already high trend of reservoir level at Bhakra there is an acute risk of certain spillage, in case MEAN inflows occur.

A study shows that even if the releases from Bhakra are increased to 33000 cusecs from 01 June, mean inflows to the level of 1680 ft will be reached on 26 August. In case the actual inflows are midway between dependable and mean, then the level of 1671 will be reached around 10 September.

After 1680, the spilling is necessary since the BBMB does not allow filling beyond 1680 even though the design level is 1690, and in the past filling up to 1685 was common. The question is that when the BBMB knew that two of its units at Bhakra were on extended outage then it should not have taken the risk of a higher level at Bhakra and corresponding risk of spillage, said Padamjit Singh, chairman All India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF).

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