CHAPTER-4 
IMPLEMENTATION OF COMPLETED PROJECTS

4.1.1     There were considerable delays in approval of the projects by the Government at different stages as indicated below :

Sl. No.

Name of Project

Delay in months

1.

Salal-II, H.E.

47

2.

Dhauliganga (Investigation)

42

3.

Gauriganga (Investigation)

37

4.

Tanakpur H.E.

27

Central Electricity Authority took 3 years for the technical clearance of Salal-II Project.

The Ministry acknowledged (April 1993) that the decision making process could have been faster.

4.1.2     The Company has completed a project in Nepal and four hydro-electric projects in India as detailed below:-

Sl. No.

Project

Year of Completion

Installed capacity
(in MW)

1.

Baira Smi

1981

180

2.

Loktak

1983

105

3.

Salal I

1987

345

4.

Tanakpur

1992

120

5.

Salal-II (Unit-I)

1994

115

 

Total

 

865

Some aspects of these projects are discussed as follows:

4.2     BA1RA SIUL HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT

4.2.1     Baira Siul Hydroelectric Project with an installed capacity of 180 MW (3 Units of 60 MW each) went into commercial production in April 1982, the time overrun being 75 months. Total cost of the project was Rs.148.34 crores as against the original estimates of Rs.20.49 crores (1970) and revised estimates of Rs.95.52 crores (1979). The construction cost per MW worked-out to Rs.82 lakhs.

Reasons for increase in cost over revised cost of 1979 are given below:-

SI. No.

Reasons

Amount
(Rs. in crores)

Percentage

1

Price Escalation

09.23

17.4%

2.

Geotechnical/Design changes

23.79

44.9%

3.

Inadequate provision

05.32

10.0%

4.

Incidental Charges

13.87

26.2%

5.

Other

00.82

01.5%

 

Total

53.03

100.0%

4.2.2     The following table shows the actual generation of power against installed capacity, firm capacity and target fixed by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) during last five years.

(Figures in M.U)

Year

Installed Capacity

Firm Capacity

Targets

Actual

1989-90

1576.80

920.00

750.00

662.25

1990-91

1576.80

920.00

750.00

756.09

1991-92

1734.48

920.00

750.00

826.92

1992-93

1734.48

920.00

750.00

830.01

1993-94

1734.48

920.00

750.00

609.00

The firm capacity assessed by the Company was only 58.34 per cent of the installed capacity; which was also not achieved. The targets were fixed only at 81.52 percent of firm capacity. Generation targets were not revised even after the installation of modified runners (April, 1991) which upgraded the installed capacity from 180 MW (1576.80 MU) to 198MW(1734.48 MU).

The Management stated that targets are approved by CEA, an independent agency taking into account various factors like inflow of water, silt ejection and grid requirement of the region Further, the assessed power potential of the project was lower because actual inflow of water was lower than the anticipated inflow which was worked out on inadequate data.

4.2.3     The presence of high quartz and silt content in the water was causing damage to underwater components of generating units which led to frequent repairs and excessive down time. No schedule was laid down by the Management for planned maintenance of turbines. To overcome this problem it was decided to renovate/modernise the project. Accordingly modified runners were installed in all the three generating units during the years 1989 to 1991, and the capacity was uprated from 180 MW to 198 MW at a cost of Rs.923.88 lakhs.

Ministry/Management, stated (April 1993) that schedules were being laid down for planned maintenance of turbines every year; since 1991-92 it was being ensured that major maintenance of units was completed within 70 days.

4.3     LOKTAK PROJECT

4.3.1     The construction work of the Loktak Project was taken up in 1971 by the Ministry of Energy and transferred to the Company from 1st January 1977. The cost of the project was met by the Government of India in the form of equity and loan in the ratio of 1:1. The original estimate of Rs. 10.90 crores was sanctioned in 1970 and the project was to be completed by 1973-74. These estimates were revised repeatedly on account of escalation in cost, change in design and increase in quantities. The project was finally completed in March 1983 at a cost of Rs. 124.83 crores; thus the construction cost per MW worked out to Rs.119 lakhs. The time overrun was 110 months. The cost overrun of Rs 113.93 crores was for different reasons as indicated below:-

Sr.No.

Reasons

Amount
(Rs. in crores)

Percentage

1.

Price Escalation

29.26

25.7%

2.

Geotechnical reasons

62.95

55.3%

3.

Inadequate provision

10.03

08.8%

4.

Natural calamities

11.69

10.2%

 

Total

113.93

100.00

4.3.2     According to the project report (1967) the project was to have two units of 35 MW each; later one more unit of 35 MW was envisaged. All the three units were commissioned in April/May 1983 and commercial generation started on 1st June 1983.

The project suffered a setback due to heavy rainfall on 25th July 1983, when a portion of the tunnel collapsed resulting in stoppage of generation. This necessitated rerouting of the tunnel and other remedial measures which were carried out at a cost of Rs.413 lakhs. In addition, abandonment of tunnel, which had collapsed, resulted in loss of Rs.71.75 lakhs.

The project also suffered loss of generation of power (378 MU) valuing Rs.1682 lakhs from 25th July 1983 to 5th August 1984 on account of the collapse of the tunnel.

An enquiry committee set up to investigate the tunnel collapse observed as under:

a)     Geologists had specifically brought out the necessity for taking surface protection measures in the slopes where tunnel was on low cover. Possibility of the cover over crown being washed away from overburden movements over the years was foreseen. This aspect did not appear to have been taken note of by the project or designers till the accident.

b)     The project authorities had to be provided with detailed instructions on the procedure to be adopted in an emergent situation, like immediate emptying of the water conductor system.

c)     The commissioning of the project in April 1983 was preceded by a Technical Advisory Committee's meeting to finalise the filling schedule and other connected matters. There was, however, no discussion among designers, geologists and the project team on the aspect of design and construction of tunnel lining in the low cover and "no rock reaches".

d)     The Loktak Project was taken over by the Company on 1st January 1977. No briefs on the status of the Project, specifically the design aspect seem to have been prepared at that time.

4.3.3     The performance of Unit III was very poor; hence it was dismantled on the recommendation of the Technical Advisory Committee (April, 1986) and was recommissioned in March 1987. Though the performance after recommissioning has improved in comparison to earlier years, it is still not satisfactory. The recommissioning has resulted in additional expenditure of Rs.50 lakhs.

4.3.4     The following table shows the actual generation of power against installed capacity and target fixed by CEA during the last five years.

(Figures in M.U.)

Year

Installed Capacity

Firm Capacity

Targets

Actual

1989-90

919.80

448.00

410.00

449.29

1990-91

919.80

448.00

410.00

473.26

1991-92

919.80

448.00

410.00

544.21

1992-93

919.80

448.00

410.00

545.56

1993-94

919.80

448.00

410.00

617.00

The targets fixed by CEA were achieved in all the years. In most of the years the actual generation was much higher than the targets fixed by CEA being only 45 percent of installed capacity.

4.4     SALAL-I PROJECT

4.4.1     Salal Hydro-electric Project, located at the Dhyangarh loop of river Chenab about 100 kms. from Jammu, was originally approved and taken up as a State Project at an estimated cost of Rs.55 crores. In August 1970, the project was taken over by the Government of India for execution as a central project; it was handed over to the Company for execution on "Agency Basis" on 15th May, 1978 and finally on 1st November, 1987 was transferred on ownership basis.

4.4.2     The project, as approved by the Planning Commission in 1970, envisaged an installed capacity of 270 MW (3x90 MW) in the first stage with an ultimate capacity of 540 MW (6x90 MW). The installed capacity of the project was enhanced from 270 MW to 345 MW (3 x 115 MW) in Stage I and 690 MW in Stage II by increasing the head for the turbines from 81 metres to 93 metres. Exploitation of this additional head necessitated shifting of the power house The project estimate was accordingly revised in September 1976 to Rs.222.15 crores for Stage I. These estimates were revised repeatedly and finally all the three units (3x115 MW) of Stage I were commissioned in November 1987 at a cost of Rs. 583.57 crores. Hence the construction cost per MW of installed capacity worked out to Rs.169 lakhs. There was an increase of 163 percent in cost over first revised estimates amounting to Rs.361.42 crores. Reasons for the escalation in cost are given below:-

Sl. No.

Reasons

Amount
(Rs.in crores)

Percentage

1.

Price Escalation

115,72

32.0%

2.

Geotechnical factors variance

44.74

12.4%

3.

Change in design & plan variance

57.57

15.9%

4.

Inadequate provision

45.52

12.6%

5.

New Items

87.85

24.3%

6.

Others

10.02

02.8%

 

Total

361.42

100.0%

4.4.3     The following table shows the actual generation of power against installed capacity, firm capacity and target fixed by CEA during last five years.

Figures in M.U.

Year

Installed Capacity

Firm Capacity

Targets

Actual

1989-90

3022.2

2243.5

2038

2321.58

1990-91

3022.2

2243.5

2038

2388.11

1991-92

3022.2

2243.5

2038

2195.98

1992-93

3022.2

2243.5

2038

2098.20

1993-94

3022.2

2243.5

2038

1727.00

Initially the performance of the project was good in comparison with the targets fixed by CEA. In 1989-90 and 1990-91 actual generation was even higher than the firm capacity; however power generation has shown a declining trend during 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94. The targets fixed by CEA were only 67 and 91 percent of the installed and firm capacity respectively.

4.5     TANAKPUR HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT

4.5.1     The Tanakpur Project located on river Sharda, in Nainital District of Uttar Pradesh was at an advanced stage of investigation with the Uttar Pradesh Government at the time of its formal transfer to the Company in 1981. The remaining investigation works were carried out by the Company in co-ordination with the U.P. Irrigation Department (UPID). The detailed project report provided for an installed capacity of 120 MW (3x40 MW) . The project envisaged the utilisation of the head of 27 Metres available between the barrage site at Tanakpur and the existing Sharda canal and was expected to generate 525 MU of power per year. However, due to significant changes in design, the head got reduced to 24 Metre with consequent reduction in generation of power by 65 MU per year, about 12% of the projected generation.

4.5.2     In the original proposal (August 1984) the project was scheduled to be commissioned by November 1988 with an estimated cost of Rs.185.85 crores. Subsequently, the commissioning schedule was revised and the generators were finally synchronised in March and April 1992 with the total cost of Rs. 401.03 crores. The construction cost per MW of installed capacity worked out to Rs.334 lakhs. There was a time overrun of 40 months and cost overrun of Rs.215.18 crores being 116 percent of the original estimates.

The reasons for escalation in cost are given below:

Sl. No.

Reasons

Amount
(Rs. in crores)

Percentage

1.

Price escalation

50.91

23.70%

2.

Change in Scope/ Under estimate,

48.19

22.40%

3.

Statutory reasons

3.15

01.50%

4.

Incidental Charges

95.59

44.40%

5.

Other

17.34

08.00%

 

Total

215.18

100.00%

The original milestones slipped because of the following reasons:

-    The acquisition of land was delayed by 4 years and 6 months.

-    The land for compensatory afforestation was identified late by the State Government, there by delaying the acquisition of forest land required by the project. There was also considerable delay in acquisition of Defence land belonging to MES.

-    Large variation in the scope of diversion and dewatering arrangements to suit the site condition encountered in the course of construction of the barrage and power house.

-    Refixing of the alignment of Tail Race Channel (TRC) which took nearly 3 years.

-    Poor performance of the contractor entrusted with the construction of the barrage.

The Ministry stated (April 1993) that the original schedule (4 years) of the project was extremely tight considering the national average of completion of hydro projects ranging from six to eight years.

4.5.3.     In the detailed project report the generation cost per unit was estimated at 35.43 paise but the actual generation cost worked out to 119.15 paise. The increase in the cost of generation was attributed to the following causes:

a)     Reduction in pond level to avoid submergence of Nepalese territory, led to head reduction which resulted in significant loss of generation.

b)     Re-alignment of Tail Race Channel.

c)     Provision of 12 per cent free power to the home state in accordance with Government's directive of 1.11.90 (as against the earlier provision of 1.5 paise per Kwh as royalty) loading the cost by an additional 12.80 paise per Kwh.

d)     Supply of 20 MU of power annually free of cost to Nepal in consideration of land to be utilised in the afflux bund.

4.5.4     Realignment Of Tail Race Channel

U.P. Irrigation Department (LJPID) agreed to join the tail race channel (TRC) of Tanakpur H.E. Scheme into Sharda Canal. The work was entrusted to UPID itself (October 1985) at an estimated cost of Rs.20 crores as a deposit work. An advance of Rs.20 lakhs for the purpose was released during the years 1985-87.

Subsequently (September 1987) UPID backed out and held that the Sharda canal could not be disturbed. It was decided to realign the TRC, resulting in loss of generation of power to the extent of 41.86 million units and reduction in the efficiency of the turbines.

This led to a recurring loss of revenue of Rs.607.35 lakhs per annum Further, due to the change in the alignment of the TRC the foundation of the power house had to be raised by 3 Metre by filling the excavation already made with plain concrete to achieve the required foundation level, resulting in an expenditure of Rs. 18.52 lakhs on filling apart from the wasted expenditure on excess excavation.

The Ministry stated (April 1993) that the TRC had to be realigned as UPID expressed their inability to close the canal for its regradation and other works; it was also decided that the TRC of Tanakpur Project would be connected to Sharda river upstream of Sharda barrage to ensure the agreed supply of water to the Nepal irrigation system. The Ministry further stated that since realignment of the TRC was to discharge in the Banbassa reservoir, the head loss varied from 1.9 metres to 3 Metres due to variation in the Banbassa reservoir level which resulted in the loss of generation of 35 MUs per year.

4.5.5     Design Deficiencies in Power Channel.

The operation of filling and raising of water level met with difficulties/distress (June 1992) in the power channel and forebay. Excessive seepage at various outlet ends, cracking/subsidence of panels, and wasting out of materials through drains were observed.

A Committee of Experts had earlier (April 1992) expressed the apprehension that the weak silty sand layer in the foundation of embankment of the channel not only had a tendency to cause further reduction in the factor of safety, but may also promote catastrophic failure due to piping and liquefaction on further saturation of silty sand layer in the foundation.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) observed (June 1992) that seepage of water was through the joints as the joint filling material was not sufficiently elastic to take care of adjustments during filling of the channel.

The remedial/rectification works were carried out at a cost of Rs.48.59 lakhs (upto September 1992). Besides, the outlet drains with precast reinforced cement concrete boxes which had been laid according to design and which were considered mainly responsible for seepage, had to be plugged rendering the expenditure of Rs.6.16 lakhs incurred on them infructuous. Thus, design defects in the power channel resulted in an avoidable expenditure of Rs.54.75 lakhs.

The Ministry, stated (April 1993) that at the planning stage, the question of type of material to be used came up for consideration. Generally a clay core was provided in the embankment to control the seepage. However, since clay material was not locally available riverbed material (RBM) was decided to be utilised with LDPE film under the lining. Drainage arrangement to direct the seepage flow through the drainage system was provided to take care of sudden draw down conditions. Due to the process of consolidation of embankment material, during the first filling operation and during the monsoons, lining panels got disturbed leading to excessive seepage through lining joints and adversely affecting the under drainage system. It was decided as a matter of abundant caution, to plug the under drainage in the power channel reach and at entry in forebay areas.

It appears from the Ministry's reply that :

(i).     the minimum time required for consolidation of embankment material was not allowed partly because of the late start of work on the power channel owing to delay in acquisition of land and partly due to haste in commissioning of the project by the scheduled date of March 1992 and

(ii).     a complete study was not carried out before deciding on the provision of the drainage system as regards the type of material used in the embankment and its effect on the drainage system.

4.5.6     Avoidable payment of dewatering charges

Construction of barrage, head regulator and other related works of Tanakpur project was awarded (October 1986) to Hindustan Steel Works Construction Ltd. (HSCL) at a total estimated cost of Rs 24.73 crores. The contractor was to complete the entire job by January 1989. The scheduled date of completion was, however, revised to December 1989 but it was actually completed in January 1992.

HSCL's performance was not satisfactory during the entire period of execution of work due to their resources constraint, insufficient cash flow for meeting their liabilities for works, establishment and supplies of construction materials, poor serviceability of equipment brought to the site and installation of innumerable small diesel and electric pumps instead of bigger ones of better efficiency. Despite financial and other assistance from the Company HSCL's performance continued to be far from satisfactory. (Dewatering charges in the case of HSCL worked out to be 16.78 per cent of the total payments made as against only 9.27 per cent in the case of another contractor T.R.G who was. engaged on construction of a part of the barrage, head regulator and other appurtenant works).

The contract with HSCL provided as under:

-    Contractor was to complete all the works which need dewatering operation in two working seasons, first starting from October 1985 ending June 1986 and second starting from October 1986 ending June 1987.

In case of failure to complete the work which needed dewatering within the scheduled time, the cost of dewatering was to be borne by the contractor unless the contractor was forced to continue dewatering for reasons beyond his control.

As slippage in time was solely due to reasons attributable to the contractor, the payment of dewatering charges beyond 18 months amounting to Rs. 2.97 crores lacked justification.

The Ministry, stated (April 1993) that TRG were awarded the work of 5 bays while HSCL had 17 bays. Dewatering in the TRG portion was done over a period of 27 months and in case of HSCL over a period of 54 months. Increased dewatering work of HSCL was due to the diversion channel flowing adjoining the HSCL working area and the contractor was given time extension on grounds of delay not attributable to him.

The Ministry's reply is not tenable as the slow progress of work of HSCL was compounded by insufficient and inefficient pumps. The pumps deployed by HSCL lacked the capacity which was essential to complete the task of dewatering at the desired speed.