Remote Nubra, Zanskar Valleys in Ladakh to Get Connected to National Grid

The government has started work on a Rs 1,200 crore project to connect the Nubra valley and Zanskar valley in Ladakh to the national power grid.

As part of efforts to boost infrastructure in the Ladakh region, the government has started work on a Rs 1,200 crore project to connect the northern most tip of the country – the Nubra valley and highly remote central area – the Zanskar valley, with the national power grid.

According to independent news service IANS, officials in the Ministry of Power have said that the grid connectivity project would be taken up on war footing so that entire work is completed quickly bringing power to these remote areas that have to do with diesel gensets now. The tentative plan is to complete the projects within 2-3 years.

Nubra valley is popular on the tourist map but is it also strategically important region as it is sandwiched between Karakoram range and Siachen glacier in the north and Baltistan region of (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) PoK in the West. High mountain ranges of Ladakh also flank the eastern side. The Zanskar valley, on the other hand, is among one of the remotest areas in Ladakh with its headquarters Padum located right in the middle of the union territory. This highly inaccessible area has seen little development so far, and the government is inclined to bring even this region to the national mainstream through a series of infrastructure projects.

As part of the grid development plan, state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) is expected to set up 220 kV transmission lines passing through some of the worlds’ highest mountain passes and inhospitable terrains. The first line will link connections available in Dras, the words second coldest place with the temperature falling to – 45 degrees C in winters, to Padum covering a distance of about 200 circuit km. The second transmission line will extend the network in Leh to Nubra valley passing through Khardung La pass, the world’s highest motorable pass close to Leh.

The linking of the two regions of the power grid is expected to reduce the use of polluting diesel in these regions, which had become the mainstay of energy fuel there.

It may be noted that though Ladakh, mainly in Leh and Kargil areas, was getting power from NHPC run hydro power projects in the area since 2013, the capital got connected to the national power grid only in 2013 when power grid opened the Srinagar-Leh transmission link.

Further expansion of the transmission network is expected to boost the energy scenario in the union territory and also open ground for the export of power from the region to other parts of the country. Already there is a plan to develop a green corridor involving solar projects Ladakh. Power from these projects could be pulled by the national grid for use in any part of the country.

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