Rivers are precious gift of nature and have been playing an important role in the development of various civilizations. The rivers flowing in Himachal Pradesh not only add to its natural beauty but also contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the state. Dams and Reservoirs constructed on the rivers in the state are also providing support in strengthening the economy of the state by means of surplus power generation besides enhancing agricultural activities. Specific plans are being prepared for various river basins, which have been found to be technically feasible and economically viable for efficient management of river waters in the state.
Lately, The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi virtually laid the foundation stone of Renuka ji dam project in the state from Paddal Maidan Mandi during his visit to the State on 27th December, 2021. Renukaji Dam Project is a National Project conceived as a storage project on Giri River in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The dam site is about 40 km away from Nahan, near famous Renukaji Shrine.
To exploit the power potential of Giri River initial investigation work was started by the then Government of Punjab in 1942. In the year 1964 Government of Himachal Pradesh started investigation on two projects and work on one of the projects viz. Giri Hydroelectric Project was started in 1970s and completed in due course.
The Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Renuka ji dam was accepted by Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of Department of Water Resources in the year 2000 for total price of Rs. 1224.64 crore. However, due to some reasons much progress could not be made on the project. DPR of the project was again accepted by TAC in the year 2015 with estimated cost of Rs. 4596.76 crore. However due to non-signing of Interstate Agreement between beneficiary states, the work on project could not be initiated.
After vigorous pursuance by Government of India, the Interstate Agreement amongst six beneficiary States viz. Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh was signed on 9th January, 2019. After signing of the agreement DPR was once again accepted by TAC of the Ministry of Jal Shakti on 9th December, 2019 for Rs. 6946.99 crore. In this, total cost of water component is Rs. 6647.46 crore and Government of India will bear 90 percent of expenditure of this component i.e. Rs. 5982.72 crore.
The Project envisages construction of 148 meter high rock fill dam, which will store the monsoon discharge leading to formation of a 24 kms long reservoir. The Live Storage of dam will be 498 Million cubic meters which shall be used for supplying drinking water at 23 cubic meters per second to National Capital Territory of Delhi and it will fulfill about 40 percent of drinking water requirements of Delhi. It will also generate 200 Million units of energy in a surface power house with 40 MW installed capacity which shall be utilized by Government of Himachal Pradesh.
The construction of project is expected to start by December 2022 and will be completed in six years. The approximate employment of 13.14 lakh man days will be generated for skilled, semiskilled and unskilled youths of the State. In line with Resettlement and Rehabilitation policy, programs will be run for skill enhancement of local youth to increase their employability. Catchment Area Treatment plan works with total outlay of Rs. 160,34,25,000 has been included in plan as well. After commissioning of the project one percent of annual revenue will be distributed to the beneficiaries in the affected area every year.
Renuka Ji Dam project would go a long way in the development of tourism and adventure activities along with ensuring direct and indirect employment opportunities to youth which will further improve the socio-economic scenario of the area.