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Topic Name: How to boost the Economy of a Hill State like Himachal Pradesh

HP Web Site Discussion Forum Public Views !


When I was a kid, I used to go with my cousins and friends to 'Gharat' (watermill) for grinding grains (wheat & Maize) to flour. There was old man from my village who used to run this 'Gharat'. I used to call him 'Tauji'. Because of electric machines for grinding grains, we stopped going to Gharat. When Tauji died, GHARAT too.
But why I am telling this to you because a few days back I read this artical and found it very interesting about Hydel Power potential and want to share with you all. I had never thought that even a Gharat can be a source of electricity. If we technologically upgrade this Gharat it can be converted into a source of energy and it will not cost more than 10-15 thousands. It will give employment to so many people and there will be no environment issues (no more strikes for pollution). I think this is a need of hour when Himachal Pradesh is trying to be power state of India by coming forward and making a good water policy or a good policy to turn old dieing 'Gharats' into a power generating units. There are over 5,00,000 watermills in the Indian Mountain Regions (IMR). 'Gharat' can lead to potential power generation of 2500 MW/hr or 40 million units of electricity and a cash generation of Rs. 1200 million per hour.
You can access this article at http://www.goodnewsindia.com/Pages/content/discovery/waterwheels.html For large Projects, while tapping the hydro-electric power from various projects to meet the electrical energy requirements, we should also take care of an Environmental Impact Assessment study, detailed investigation of the project site, collection of hydro-meteorological data, diversion of any forest area so as to formulate and implement the project with the lowest minimum impact on environment and people. Because most of the time people start agitating on these issues. If anyone of you know more on this please let me know.

Although state govt. has made a begining to tap the only resource in abundance in the state by converting into electricity, however, much is left to be done in this area. The interior Districts of HP like that of Lahul & Spitti, Kinnaur and Bharmour area of Chamba, possesses large numbers of streams which are large enough to produce 3 to 5 MW of electricity but the State has neither permitted to private sector nor the Govt is coming up with any such project resulting colossal loss of this resource. If due to geographical reasons the private sector is not interested to invest then Govt. should allow the participation of locals for harnessing this resource. The locals are enterprising enough and will take up this challenge but with a with little help from the Govt. towards arrangement of funds.
The State Govt must be aware that without the participation of the residents it is difficult to raise the per capita income and living standard of people of these tribal districts in particular and State in general. I, therefore, suggest that an intensive campaign should be carried out in the State, which should explain the changed economic scenario of the country and the world that dependency on the Govt towards creation of assets should be the least. I am confident by doing so the lively people of this farflung areas of the State will understand and contribute there best towards creation of assets like Hydel Projects for electricity.

This discussion reminds me about the other resources available for power generation in Himachal Pradesh. I would like to bring your attention towards the forest fires and the related losses to the Government from these fires. Some of the reasons for the forest fire in the pine forests are probably the pine needles. Pine needles are more prone to fire than other wastes like leaves from other trees, paddy waste as well as wood. This subsequently help pine trees to catch fire, and the whole forest finally ends up in ashes.
In the current scenerio, other states do need a lot of power, which can be produced from the pine needles and waste leaves of the other trees. If a community project is started to collect all this biomass (waste leaves, waste dry wood and related material) from the forests, which can be subsequently converted into briquettes (high density biomass) will help in transportation of the biomass. This gives an alternative to the energy generation coupled with a lot of jobs to the local youth to collect the biomass from the forests and then converting the same into the briquettes. If this is achieved, Governent will also be able to stop forests fires. This type of projects are highly succcessful and currently running in India as well as abroad. Recently one Japanese company has imported this technology to Japan from India. A lot of information is available on internet about specifically on http://cgpl.iisc.ernet.in The Biomass Gasifiers.
I think the issue issue is quite important considering the facts of forest fires and the subsequent loss of public and private property as well as the wild life. This biomass can also be used as an efficient fuel for kitchen cooking even in the most modern home. It has been demostrated that totally smokeless combustion can be achieved from these biomass sources.

Himachal Pradesh is gifted by nature with beautiful hills and nice people. Along with this, water is the natural resource available in abundance in H.P. Although the State is on path of progress and can be considered among one of the best Indian States, there is a strong need to become self reliant. The State Government is coming up with big projects like Nathpa-Jhakri (NJPC) and Parvati Projects through various collabrations.
The major untapped area is micro-hydel projects, which should be emphasised more. These projects can be started with relatively small investments without much civil engineering work and ecological concerns. The benifits of these projects as business ventures can be more vigorously advertised by the Government and there should be clear-cut guidelines for entreprenures about connectivity to grid, bulk purchase by Government etc.
The businessmen can be given some concessions and technical support in the beginning. Once the confidence is generated, I am sure many people would like to jump at the opportunity, therby benifiting the State and as a result the Nation. I feel identification of possible areas, road connectivity, transparency on the part of Government and spreading the word at national level should definitely bring more investment into this sector.
The idea of biomass energy is a good one and should also be given practical shape by the Government.

Himachal Pradesh has got rich source of conventional energy in which hydro electricity and solar energy bears great importance. There is great need to explore these sources. Govt. is trying to do much for it but the need is to involve people of rural Himachal.
In the lower belts of the state like districts of Kangra, Una, Mandi, Hamirpur the water is fed to the villages by kuhal or small channels which are connected to small rivers and khuds. These kuhls can act as good source of power in these areas. The Govt. should give assistance to harness it so that people can generate their own electricity and reduce burden over HPSEB. This will facilitate that the Govt. can sell power to other states.
Also areas of upper Himachal can be promoted for solar and wind power. I think that there are more opportunities for power, employment and development in this sector.

Regarding tapping of hydel power potential in our hill State is not as tough as it seems to the people outside the State. As far as the Government is concerned, it should provide clear guidelines so that there is no confusion to the outside investors. Due to the limited resources Govt. alone cannot invest in this sector, as Govt. has to look after various service sector schemes. So our first priority should be to attract maximum investors for which a Publicity Deptt should be set up within HPSEB, whose only target should be to make people aware about the investment friendly atmosphere in our beautiful hill State. One more task that this publicity cell can do is to listen to the doubts and misconceptions and try to convince the investors. The Govt. should take this cell under confidence in framing policies for exploiting hydel potential in the State.
One more thing the Govt. can do is to attract unemployed electrical engineers while providing loan through bankers at low interest rates under self-employment schemes. But the Govt. has to ensure that these entrepreneurs have the avenues for selling the electricity produced which otherwise would be a big handicap. So in my opinion, the exploitation of hydel power potential can be done with the active co-ordination and cooperation of people and think tank of the Govt. which otherwise would remain a distant dream.

If there are some disadvantages in bringing rapid development in the hill States, then at the same time, nature has made them rich with natural resources. Himachal is appearing as a major power state in India. We should exploit its power generation capacity. Now Central Government is also showing special interest towards this side. I understand that it will help to remove unemployment in the State and will work effectively towards its development. Power sector can bring lot of currency to the State. We must keep one thing in our mind that these projects should not be harmful to the natural beauty of the State, because it may have bad effect on tourism. Till today we are not generating as much power as possible. Let us work for Himachal , let us help to bring it on the top in India and world map.

No doubt, Himachal Pradesh is blessed with natural wealth and hydel power is one such gift of God to this beautiful State. But it is also true that hydel power is yet to be fully harnessed by the State. And it is one of the reasons that even after the sufficient availability of hydel power with HP, some parts of the State are forced to face electricity cuts. Though it is difficult for the State Government to start any hydel project on a large scale because it requires lot of funding, but it is the need of the hour that State Government should set up joint ventures in collaboration with the Government of India and also invite some private or foreign giants in this field. Because after the completion of these hydel projects, they will not only fulfill the requirement of electricity of the Northern States but also provide large scale employment opportunities to the people of this land of Gods and Goddesses. It is also necessary to intra-link the rivers of the State so that water available in these rivers will be used in a proper way for the generation of maximum hydel power in the State. It will also provide large financial resources to the State and reduce its financial dependability on the Central Government. In a nutshell, it will ultimately lead to the overall prosperity of the cheerful and hard-working people of this tiny State.

The total estimated hydro-Power potential in India is about 41 million KWH at 60% load factor(1994) in the Himalayas. In the past decade govt. has mainly concentrated on the hydel power projects to ensure regular and uninterrupted supply of the power of the domestic and industrial consumption. Naptha Jhakri and Chamera Projects are big enough to meet the demand of power hungry northern India. There are also some micro level Projects in Himachal. The increasing size of population has shown its impact on the hills too. The population pressure has acquired more and more land in the inaccessible terrains of the Himalayan belt.
Problems of constructing dams over hills causing flash floods, destruction of valleys and the problem of rehabilitation of the oustees have arisen. The problem of human rehabilitation is more social, psychological and cultural than technical. It is difficult to prevent natural hazards but their intensity can be reduced by taking appropriate steps in order to improve the hill environment. Your views are invited on these steps.

Steps must be taken to stop the natural calamities like Flash Floods while allowing hydel power projects in the State and forest wealth must be persevered at all costs.

I'm glad to know about the Discussion Forum being introduced on our HP Government website. I congratulate and thank the H.P. Govt. and the persons involved particularly for this initiative taken. Probably, I would be the future participant in this forum. Just want to suggest the topic for this forum - How we can make use of 'Lok Mitra - HP Govt Web Portal' and the ways to promote this scheme and make it successful.