NEW DELHI: In what could be the single-largest border infrastructure development plan in Ladakh, the administration is working on a project to power up the habitations and garrisons along the LAC (line of actual control) with China from the national grid under a Central scheme.
Ladakh secretary (power) Ravinder Dangi told TOI the project for supplying regular power in Changthang region, a vast wind-swept plateau, is proposed to be taken up under the Union power ministry’s Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme. “It is part of the Centre’s efforts to improve the quality of life and usher development in Ladakh,” he said.
The project blueprint envisages stringing a transmission line from an existing substation at Kharu, 35 kms from Leh, across the 5,360-metre-high Chang La (pass) and extending an existing line to Nyoma to power up the border villages.
Power and telecom connectivity are two major infrastructure shortcomings in the border areas, said Knochok Stanzin, who represents the border constituency of Chushul in the hill council. “I have been raising the issues with the authorities for a long time as these shortcomings add to the hardship of residents living in the forward areas,” he said.
Border inhabitants currently get power for 5-6 hours in the evening from diesel generators or small off-grid solar storage plants in a couple of settlements. Garrisons too depend on generators, entailing the logistical challenge of hauling and storing diesel for both civil and military establishments.
Grid power will prove to be life altering for the border inhabitants, especially during the harsh winters. It will also boost PM Narendra Modi’s aim to make Ladakh carbon-free.
Ladakh power department officials reckon the project will take about two years to implement after the Centre’s approval. Under the plan, the administration will build the supply line and take care of the distribution infrastructure in the villages. The forces will build the infrastructure for receiving and distributing the power within their establishments.
Villages in the south of Pangong lake will be supplied power through the line across Chang La. These are Shyok, Durbuk and Tangtse, headquarters of the Army’s 114 Brigade guarding the LAC, Phobrang, the gateway to the Gogra-Hot Spring and Depsang areas, and villages along the lake.
An existing line from Himya substation near Upshi, 50 kms from Leh, to Nyoma, a staging area for the Chushul and Demchok sectors, will be extended through a new substation to supply power to Mudh, Dungti, Koyul, Demchok. Another branch line is supposed to connect Hanle, a popular tourist destination 70 kms from Nyoma.