BMC may soon produce power from Middle Vaitarna Dam

The state government has assured the municipal commissioner that they will grant permission to the corporation’s plan to generate electricity from the Middle Vaitarna Dam 

There is a ray of hope for the BMC’s ambitious plan of electricity generation from Middle Vaitarna Dam, as the state government has agreed to grant it permission. Earlier, the government had denied permission despite several attempts by the BMC to seek it. According to a source, the state has assured BMC chief Sitaram Kunte on Wednesday that they will grant permission. If this happens, BMC will be the first civic body in India to generate electricity.

The Middle Vaitarna dam during construction. File pic

The project
For four years, a BMC- appointed consultant has been trying to get permission from the state government for a hydropower project on the Middle Vaitarna Dam, but in vain. Kunte even wrote to the state seeking permission for the project after completing construction in 2012. Having got no approval, the civic body recently decided to scrap the project and even sent a proposal for this to the Standing Committee. However, the committee sent back the proposal, asking for more details of the project. Meanwhile, the state government changed its opinion on the project.

A source from the Water Special Project (WSP) Department said, “The state government has assured the municipal commissioner that they will give the nod as soon as possible. The commissioner conveyed this to us. However, the written order from the state is yet to be received.” If this project gets the nod then the corporation will be able to generate 25 MW of electricity which could be sold.

BMC had constructed the state’s tallest dam, 102.4 metres high, called Middle Vaitarna in 2012. From day one, it was keen to start a hydropower project. The civic body even invested R10 crore on setting up infrastructure for the power plant..

The BMC had appointed M/s Trigon Consultants to prepare a feasibility report for the project and implement it accordingly. The consultant was asked to carry out a geological and technical survey, prepare a financial feasibility report, seek permission from the state government, and monitor the project work.

In 2011, the state rejected BMC’s proposal to allow it to construct the power project saying power generation is not in its limit and it should stick to construction of the dam. Instead, they would appoint a consultant for the project.
The BMC’s consultant had carried out the first two jobs successfully. The state government then awarded the work to another private firm to check its feasibility.

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