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FEATURE STORY

Rampur Project Status Update

November 1, 2011

Physical Construction Work

The excavation of the various tunnels that comprise the Project has been slower than anticipated due to the poor quality of rocks encountered. The Project is now scheduled to be fully commissioned by 30 September 2013, instead of the original scheduled date of 15 March 2012. The Bank loan has been accordingly restructured to extend the closing date of the World Bank loan from March 31, 2013 to December 31, 2014.

Tunneling

In order to deal with the delays induced by poor geology, SJVNL and its contractors had devised a comprehensive Tunnel Acceleration Plan in consultation with a panel of international experts. This Plan is being adhered to and as a result, about 14.2 km (or 93.5 percent of the total length) of the Head Race Tunnel (HRT) of 15.18 km has been excavated by November 2011. Of this, about 10.25 km (or 67.5 percent of total length) has also been benched (that is, the lower face of the tunnel has also been excavated) and 5.61 km (or 37 percent of total length) has been lined with concrete as well. The HRT is currently scheduled to be fully completed by 31 March 2013.

As of end November 2011, two critical stretches of the HRT remained to be fully excavated - a 911 metre-long stretch upstream of the Goshai adit, and a 600 metre-long stretch downstream of the Kunni adit, the latter requiring re-profiling excavation.

Powerhouse

The work at the powerhouse had proved challenging because of weak rock conditions, which affected the stability of the structures. SJVNL and the contractor have begun implementing remedial measures developed in consultation with the international tunneling experts, and the erection of the reinforced concrete structure has progressed substantially. A challenging task ahead is the completion of excavation, support and lining of the draft tubes conduits and of the collection gallery for which a plan has been finalized by SJVNL and the contractor.

Surge-shaft

Widening of the surge shaft has been completed up to 149.5 meter. Concrete Lining has been completed upto 72.6 m.

Electro-mechanical works
Work on installing the electro-mechanical works within the powerhouse is proceeding well, and SJVNL estimates that the synchronization of the six units to the grid will occur by end September 2013, with the Tandem Operation System between the Nathpa Jhakri and Rampur Plants being in place by end August 2012 and fully tested by September 2013.

Social Management

Land Acquisition and Resettlement & Rehabilitation
The implementation of land acquisition and resettlement actions is fully completed, 204 of the total 208 families affected by land acquisition have received all eligible entitlements. It was agreed between the Bank team and SJVNL that the latter will expedite the release of R&R assistance to the remaining families from the Shimla district by 31 January 2012.

Local Area Development

As part of its attempt to improve the quality of lives of the people living in the Rampur project's vicinity, SJVNL had launched an intensive local area development scheme. Small community infrastructure facilities -- like footbridges and footpaths, street lighting and drinking water supply -- have been completed in various villages. The Company has also provided financial grants for the construction of a bus-station and a senior secondary school in the Rampur area. SJVNL has so far spent Rs. 154 million for these infrastructure works. SJVNL has also opened a medical dispensary in village Bayal, the site of the proposed powerhouse; about 20,000 people from the project area have accessed the medical services there. The company is also financing a mobile health van since 2006 that does the rounds of the eight project-affected villages, taking basic healthcare to the people's doorstep. Till date more than 46,000 persons have availed of the services of this mobile health van.

In line with the State's Hydropower Policy, the Government of Himachal Pradesh has now decided to implement these local area development plans through the district administration and SJVNL is accordingly providing the funds to Local Area Development Authority (LADA) for various works identified by the communities. SJVN has to date made Rs 52.5 million out of 175.6 million available for developing small village infrastructure works in project-affected villages in the Shimla and Kullu districts.

Of this, the Kullu district administration has already released Rs 22 million to the concerned project-affected panchayats, who have initiated works such as internal and approach roads, construction of additional school class rooms, play grounds, renovation of temples, construction of stadiums, rehabilitation of irrigation drainage systems, laying of drinking water pipe lines, etc. However, the implementation of these community development activities has been slower than anticipated in the project-affected villages that fall in Shimla district. Although 22 schemes with an estimated outlay of Rs 6.45 million were approved in July 2011 by LADA, the funds are yet to be released to the Panchayats. SJVNL is in constant touch with the district administration to get the fund release expedited. The state government has, in October 2011, revised the guidelines for implementation and monitoring of use of funds through LADA and this is also expected to hasten the implementation of these community development works.

SJVNL had also undertaken to get two major drinking water works in the project-affected area implemented in collaboration with the state government. One was a Rs 74.8 million-multi-panchayat drinking water scheme for which SJVNL was to provide part financing. SJVNL has already deposited Rs 40 million with the Irrigation and Public Health Department and the foundation stone of the same was laid by Hon'ble Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh in November 2011 and work is expected to start shortly. The other was a scheme to install four bore wells and seven hand pumps at various sites in the project area. Although SJVNL has already made the funds available for these schemes, three bore wells and two hand pumps are yet to be completed. SJVNL is in regular touch with the IPH department to get these functional as soon as possible so that local villagers can get access to safe and reliable drinking water.

Environment management

The implementation of the environment management plan, aimed at mitigating the environmental impacts of the Project has gained momentum.

Muck-dumping
SJVNL has set in place a robust system for ensuring that the debris being generated by tunnel excavation or other construction activity are safely dumped in designated sites that have strong retaining walls to stop the muck from slipping into the river. SJVNL environmental engineer vigorously monitors that their construction contractors stick to the agreed regime. In order to allow local communities and other stakeholders to also monitor the muck-dumping and to report if they find any unauthorized dumping of project debris in either the river or at non-designated sites, SJVNL has also displayed contact details of key project officials at public spots and all the four dumping sites.

SJVNL is also attempting to shorten the response time between finding a breach at a muck dumping site and its repair. In addition to repairs, there is a need to raise the height of the protection wall and to also remove some of the muck that spilled over during the damage period; SJVNL is taking action on these appropriately.

Two of the muck-dumping sites that have been filled to capacity are being rehabilitated and planted afresh to maintain the integrity of the slope and its visual landscape. SJVNL has already completed two pilot studies on the suitability of various techniques, and is now developing plans for scaling up remediation activities for all the dumping sites.

Dust management
SJVNL has also set up a community-managed system for controlling dust generated by the movement of construction vehicles at site. Under this initiative, the Local panchayats have been awarded contracts to sprinkle water on the roads several times a day to keep down the dust levels.

Onsite safety

The construction of tunnels is difficult and requires careful attention to safety rules and guidelines. In addition to equipping workers with standard safety gear, SJVNL is putting stringent safety systems in place that include emergency response training; controlling and monitoring blasting for excavating tunnels; and technical measures for preventing accidental rock-falls. SJVNL has retained the services of an International Safety Advisor, who periodically visits the site and advises on preventive and corrective measures following any safety incident. To further strengthen these efforts, SJVNL has recently appointed a National Safety Advisor to ensure a more regular supervision of safety aspects and guide the company in the implementation of various safety measures recommended by the International Safety Advisor.

January 2011 Status Update


Physical Construction Work

The excavation of the various tunnels that comprise the Project has been slower than anticipated due to the poor quality of rocks encountered. SJVNL and its contractors have updated and agreed to a revised overall Project completion schedule. As per the revised schedule, the Project is now scheduled to be fully commissioned by September 30, 2013, instead of original scheduled date of March 15, 2012.

Tunneling

Work on all the adits has been completed and some 11.9 km (or 79% of total length) of the 15 km-headrace tunnel (the tunnel that carries the water from the river to the powerhouse) has been excavated.

The most critical stretch is a 2.6 km-length of the headrace tunnel between Goshai and Kasholi adits, where poor rock conditions has slowed progress considerably. On the recommendation of the World Bank, SJVNL had, in September 2009, retained the services of a Tunneling Advisory Board -- comprising international tunneling and rock mechanic experts -- to help improve progress. In consultation with this Board and the World Bank, SJVNL and the civil works contractors have begun implementing the acceleration measures, including modifications to the excavation cycle and mobilization of additional equipment, to speed up the progress. Currently, the balance critical stretch of 2.1 km is being advanced from two faces and the average progress currently achieved is 2 meters per day on each face (against 0.8 meter per day earlier).

Powerhouse

The work at the powerhouse has also proved challenging because of weak rock conditions which affect the stability of the structures. SJVNL and the contractor have begun implementing remedial measures developed in consultation with the Tunneling Advisory Board.

Surge-shaft

The excavation of the surge shaft has been completed to its full diameter of 40 metre for the entire depth of 149.4 metre. The shaft is now being lined with concrete. This work is expected to be completed by July 2012.

Electro-mechanical works

Turbine model tests were completed in August 2009 and butterfly valve model tests have been completed in September 2010.

Environment Management

The implementation of the environment management plan, aimed at mitigating the negative environmental impacts of the Project has gained momentum.

Muck Dumping

One of the designated muck-dumping sites for the Project - the site across the river from the Rampur bus-stand) has been filled to capacity and is being re-vegetated by SJVNL using a geo-green erosion control blanket. Based on this successful experiment, SJVNL is in discussions with State Pollution Control Board for replicating this in the other the muck-dumping sites as well.

SJVNL has also started maintaining a muck-disposal register to ensure that the muck removed from the construction sites is disposed in the designated dumping sites. In order to allow local communities and other stakeholders to monitor the muck-dumping and to report if they find any unauthorized dumping of project debris in either the river or at non-designated sites, SJVNL has also displayed contact details of key project officials at public spots and all the four dumping sites.

Catchment Area Treatment (CAT) Plan

The state forest department of Himachal Pradesh has undertaken works to the tune of Rs. 68.7 million under the CAT plan activities till date. In addition, SJVNL is implementing soil and moisture conservation works in three of the five streams identified (Bayal Nala, Shaluri Nala, Galeda Nala) by the forest department. SJVNL is also in regular contact with the state forest department to expedite other activities of CAT Plan.

Onsite Safety

The construction of tunnels is difficult and requires careful attention to safety rules and guidelines. In addition to equipping workers with standard safety gear, SJVNL is putting stringent safety systems in place that include emergency response training; controlling and monitoring blasting for excavating tunnels; and technical measures for preventing accidental rock-falls. SJVNL has retained the services of an International Safety Advisor, who periodically visits the site and advises on preventive and corrective measures following any safety incident. The latest visit of the expert was in November 2010.

Other construction-related environmental management measures such as pollution control; solid waste disposal; health, safety and sanitation awareness are being implemented satisfactorily.

Land Acquisition and Resettlement and Rehabilitation

The 29.86 hectares of private land needed for the Project has been acquired and compensation paid to all 208 land-owners. Of these, the 37 families who will be left with less than five bighas of land after the Project acquires their land have also received from SJVNL the additional rehabilitation grants they were entitled to. Fourteen of 15 families who were displaced by the Project have moved into their new houses. SJVNL has recently extended street-lighting to these resettlement sites. Four families are yet to be provided house plots for want of acceptable alternative sites - Three of these families already have alternative housing arrangements where they are currently living.

The implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) is thus substantially completed, with the exception of an alternative resettlement site for these four families.

Local Area Development and Benefits to the Communities in the Project Area

As part of its attempt to improve the quality of lives of the people living in the Rampur project's vicinity, SJVNL had launched an intensive local area development scheme. Small community infrastructure facilities -- like footbridges and footpaths, street lighting and drinking water supply -- have been completed in various villages. The Company has also provided financial grants for the construction of a bus-station and a senior secondary school in the Rampur area. SJVNL has so far spent about Rs. 150 million for these infrastructure works. SJVNL has also opened a medical dispensary in village Bayal, the site of the proposed powerhouse. The company is also financing a health van that does the rounds of the eight project-affected villages, taking basic healthcare to the people's doorstep.

In line with the State's Hydropower Policy, the government of Himachal Pradesh has now decided to implement these local area development plans through the district administration and SJVNL is accordingly providing the funds to Local Area Development Authority (LADA) for various works identified by the communities. The first installment has been deposited with LADA in April 2009, but the utilization of funds has been slow. Of Rs. 25 million deposited by SJVNL with the LADA of Kullu District, works worth 28 percent funds have been completed and another 57 percent funds have been committed so far. SJVNL is in constant touch with district authorities to speed up these works. SJVNL had also deposited the required funds with the state Irrigation and Public Health Department for setting up tube-wells and hand-pumps in various project-affected villages to enhance the drinking water supply for villagers living in the area. However, there have been delays in energizing the four tube-wells and installing two handpumps from the line department's end. SJVNL is following up with the state government to get this work expedited.

To help local people acquire skill-sets that will allow them to improve their incomes, SJVNL has sponsored 175 candidates from the Project-affected area to receive technical education at the state Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). SJVNL has also provided scholarships to more than 50 meritorious students.

The Project has also ensured that local contractors also get a share of the work being done, and small community development works worth Rs. 140 million have been awarded to Project-affected people and others in the local communities. In addition, 214 people from the affected villages have also found employment with the civil works' contractors. The Project has helped create more than 1,096,260 man-days of work for people from the state of Himachal Pradesh.

July 2010 Status Update

Physical Construction Work

Tunneling

The excavation of the various tunnels that comprise the Project has been slower than anticipated due to the poor quality of rocks encountered. Work on all the adits has been completed and some 9.6 km (or 64% of total length) of the 15 km-headrace tunnel (the tunnel that carries the water from the river to the powerhouse) has been excavated.

The most critical stretch is a 2.6 km-length of the headrace tunnel between Goshai and Kasholi adits where poor rock conditions have slowed down progress considerably. On the Bank’s recommendation, the company had in September 2009 retained the services of a Tunneling Advisory Board -- comprising international tunneling and rock mechanic experts -- to help improve progress. In consultation with this Board and the World Bank, SJVNL and the civil works contractors have started implementing these acceleration measures, including modifications to the excavation cycle and mobilization of additional equipment, to speed up the progress.

Powerhouse and surge-shaft works
The work at the powerhouse has also proved challenging because of weak rock conditions which affect the stability of the structures. SJVNL and the contractor have developed remedial measures in consultation with the Advisory Board members and are implementing the same.

Surge-shaft
Surge shaft excavation is progressing satisfactorily and the shaft has been widened to its full diameter of 40 m for 138 m of a total depth of 149.4 m.

Electro-mechanical works

Turbine model tests have been completed in August 2009. But the delay in tunnel excavation will also impact progress on the electro-mechanical works. SJVNL and its contractors are updating the overall Project completion schedule with a likely delay of a year.

Environment Management

The implementation of the environment management plan, aimed at mitigating the environmental impacts of the project has gained momentum.

Muck Dumping

Visits to all construction sites and facilities, as well as to the various sites designated official muck-dumping areas, have shown that works to reclaim and re-vegetate the muck-dumping site that has been filled to capacity (the site across the river from the Rampur bus-stand) are going very well. Based on the successful experience, SJVNL will seek to reclaim the other the muck-dumping sites as well.

SJVNL has also started maintaining a muck-disposal register to ensure that the muck removed from the construction sites is disposed in the designated dumping sites. In order to allow local communities and other stakeholders to monitor the muck-dumping and to report if they find any unauthorized dumping of project debris in either the river or at non-designated sites, SJVNL has also displayed contact details of key project officials at public spots and all the four dumping sites. SJVNL has also initiated steps to repair breaches found in some retaining walls of the muck-dumping sites.

Catchment Area Treatment (CAT) Plan
SJVNL has commenced soil and moisture conservation activities in three of the five streams identified (Bayal Nala, Shaluri Nala, Galeda Nala) by the Forest Department. SJVNL is also in regular contact with the state forest department to expedite other activities of CAT Plan.

Onsite Safety

The construction of tunnels is difficult and requires careful attention to safety rules and guidelines. In addition to equipping workers with standard safety gear, SJVNL is putting stringent safety systems in place that include emergency response training; controlling and monitoring blasting for excavating tunnels; and technical measures for preventing accidental rock-falls. SJVNL has retained the services of an International-level Safety Advisor, who periodically visits the site and advises on preventive and corrective measures following any safety incident.

Other construction-related environmental management measures such as pollution control; solid waste disposal; health, safety and sanitation awareness are being implemented satisfactorily.

Land Acquisition and Resettlement and Rehabilitation

The 29.86 hectares of private land needed for the Project has been acquired and compensation paid to all 208 land-owners. Of these, the 37 families who will be left with less than five bighas of land after the Project acquires their land have also received from SJVNL the additional rehabilitation grants they were entitled to.

The implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) is thus substantially completed, except the following: (a) providing an alternative resettlement site for four families (in Shimla district) from whom the land is to be acquired for township, construction of which will be taken up in future ; (b) second installment of the house construction grant to seven relocated families who have not shown progress in utilising the first installment for the construction/upgrading of their houses; and (iii) the extension of street-lighting in two resettlement sites at Bayal and Averi.

Local Area Development and Benefits to the Communities in the Project Area

As part of its attempt to improve the quality of lives of the people living in the Rampur project’s vicinity, SJVNL had launched an intensive local area development scheme. Small community infrastructure facilities -- like footbridges and footpaths, street lighting and drinking water supply -- have been completed in various villages. In addition, Rs. 100 million has been provided for the construction of a bus-station and a senior secondary school in the area. SJVNL has also opened a medical dispensary in village Bayal, the site of the proposed powerhouse. The company has also financed a health van that does the rounds of the eight project-affected villages, taking basic healthcare to the people’s doorstep.

In line with the State’s Hydropower Policy, the government of Himachal Pradesh has now decided to implement these local area development plans through the district administration and SJVNL is providing the funds to Local Area Development Authority (LADA) for various works in the project area, based on the work identified by the communities. The first installment has been deposited more than a year ago, but the utilization of funds has been slow. Of Rs. 25 million deposited by SJVNL with the LADA of Kullu District, only 57 percent funds have been committed so far. SJVNL is in constant touch with district authorities to speed up these works. There are also delays in energizing the four tube wells and installing two hand pumps by the Irrigation and Public Health Department despite SJVNL transferring the funds as required.

To further help local people acquire skill-sets that will allow them to improve their incomes, SJVNL has sponsored 140 candidates from the project affected area for receiving technical education at the state Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). SJVNL has also provided scholarships to more than 50 meritorious students.

The Project has also ensured that local contractors also get a share of the work being done, and small community development works worth Rs. 142 million have been awarded to project-affected people and others in the local communities. In addition, 214 people from the affected villages have also found employment with the civil works ’ contractors. The Project has helped create more than 8,76,400 man-days of work for people from the state of Himachal Pradesh; of this 17 percent of the employment generated has gone to villagers from the project-affected panchayats.