Inadequate power supply
Kashmir is undoubtedly the most discussed union territory in India, making national and international news on a regular basis. The quality of power infrastructure in the valley has been challenging and unreliable for a long time.
During my visit to Kashmir last year, I had the chance to speak to quite a few locals. Apart from the lifestyle of people and the many beautiful aspects of the place, I also came face to face with the many struggles they face daily.
The existing power transmission infrastructure in the valley regularly got affected by harsh winter conditions and rain. This resulted in frequent blackouts throughout the region. Additionally, Kashmir has one of the most difficult terrains, which is riddled with improper road connectivity.
Therefore, there was an urgent need to upgrade the infrastructure. Some of the people I spoke to seemed quite hopeful about the work Sterlite Power has done in their region and they pray for better winters this time, now that the work is done. The trip sparked my curiosity and I decided to do a bit of reading. I came across some videos and posts about the work Sterlite Power has done and it got me hooked to write a post myself.
A Power Packed Power Corridor!
Kashmiris could see a ray of hope coming to life when the central government realised the seriousness of the situation and Sterlite Power, a leading global developer of electric power transmission infrastructure was called to provide an adequate alternative.
So the Northern Region Strengthening Scheme–29 (NRSS) Transmission Project was taken up by Sterlite Power to strengthen the transmission system by adding a new power line between Jalandhar in Punjab to Amargarh in Kashmir. This project strived to improve the living standards of Kashmiri locals and ensure a better business environment by promoting more exports from the state.
Kashmir, being a favorite tourist spot for people like me, would really see an increase in tourism. Moreover, there would be better and modern agricultural opportunities that would help empower the local communities even further. More apples for all! Due to the availability of enough electricity, advanced educational facilities for the students would emerge through the latest technology. You see how much difference electricity makes in our life?
Leveraging technology for sustainability: Nothing Comes Without Challenges
When Sterlite Power took up the NRSS Project in Kashmir way back in 2014, it faced endless challenges in its endeavor. Natural disasters such as avalanches and landslides were commonly experienced, which created obstacles in the project’s execution.
The distance from the project sites to the nearest roadways also added to the complexity of the project, as large quantities of materials were needed to be shifted to each site. But the project team did not give up and recognized all these major concerns.
A helicrane from the United States with a working load limit of up to 9 tons was commissioned to deliver goods in the mountainous regions directly to the site of operation. Really cool, isn’t it? This creative problem-solving allowed Sterlite Power to improve operational effectiveness and avoid any damage to the flora & fauna of an ecologically sensitive Himalayan region.
Despite a flood inundating the operational headquarters in the middle of the project the project was a success, proving that no place is too remote to get access to proper development. The use of aviation technology material movement & tower construction within the project became a pioneering work of development in India.
Sterlite Power’s NRSS Project: Achievement Deserving Applause
Sterlite Power, known to complete projects before the deadline, finished the first phase of this NRSS Project 14 months & second phase 2 months ahead of schedule. There is now a 70% increase in the transmission capacity in the Kashmir Valley.
What I personally liked was that they kept in mind the citizens and offered employment opportunities to more than 10,000 locals, contributing to the empowerment of the community in the area. It envisioned to dramatically improve the healthcare facilities by solving those problems that were associated with medical equipment due to the absence of adequate transmission capacity.
After constant innovation at every stage of the project and learning through trial and error, Sterlite Power now aims to operate and maintain the transmission line for more than 35 years. With this power corridor, Kashmir Valley can supplement its requirement by tapping into the national grid thereby improving the quality of life of every Kashmiri.
Owing to its progressive approach, Sterlite Power’s NRSS Project won the IPMA Award and the S&P Global Platts Energy Awards for the “Construction Project of the Year”. Sterlite Power’s commitment to the energy industry’s advancement was found very impressive. Their innovative use of technology, partnerships and the ability to engage deeply with the local community was definitely commendable.
The project was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in February 2019, which brought the media spotlight on the project and succeeded in creating a national impact. The next time I visit Kashmir, I am certain I will see regular power supply and more people talking about the improvement in lifestyle and opportunities!