The supporters of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) have for long justified the large-scale displacement by the dam on grounds of its anticipated power and irrigation potential. However, a recent report of the Union ministry of water resources has indicated that the mega-dam scheme may face problems on that count as well.
According to the report, SSP's power generation schedule may have to be rescheduled by as much as 2 years because of continued delays in the procurement of the 6 turbo-generators from Japan's Sumitomo Corporation. Sources at the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), the body responsible for building the dam complex, believe that the delay could be even more. They reveal that 2 of the turbo-generators have already been manufactured by Sumitomo but are incarcerated in Japanese docks, awaiting payments from the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam, the administrative body for SSP.
The Japanese firm has refused permission for the 2 turbo-generators that cost Rs 400 crore to be lifted until firm arrangements are made for payment. Although the Nigam officials refuse to comment, NCA sources say that Sumitomo has refused to resume the manufacture of the other 4 turbo-generators. The manufacture of these turbo-generators was suspended last October when the Japanese Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund (OECF) loan to NCA was blocked last year on environmental considerations.
Meanwhile, the chief ministers of the 3 states have reportedly planned a meet to discuss alternative financing for the generators.
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