Ahead of the 75th Independence Day, an engineering feat pulled off by the state-run transmission utility PowerGrid has made it possible for remote villages in the Aryan valley in Kargil district in Ladakh to plug into the national electricity network. These areas would be able to now enjoy 24X7 uninterrupted power supply. Until now, the Aryan villages were dependent on the power supplied from diesel generators, providing the villagers electricity only for 5-6 hours in the evening.
Under the Prime Minister’s Development Programme for rural electrification, the Indian government electricity board commissioned a 40-kilometre transmission line successfully in Ladakh connecting Lalung, Silmoo, Batalik, Darchik, Hurdass, Sinikcey and Garkon and adjoining villages between Lalung to Darchik. With this, all villages in the Aryan Valley of Kargil district are now connected to the National Grid through the 220 KV Srinagar-Leh transmission line.
Batalik was one of the focus areas in the 1999 Kargil conflict due to its strategic location.
The link will now ensure that these villages get a 24X7 power supply thus enhancing the quality of life of the people living there along with boosting tourism. It will also enable people to productively tap the areas food processing potential.
This dream could be only changed into reality because of the Srinagar-Leh transmission line inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2019. More than 70 years after Independence, a 350 km long 220-kv line was drawn to connect Ladakh to the national electricity network, making ‘One Nation, One Grid, One Frequency‘ a reality. This 350 km long 220-kv line is said to be the fulcrum of rural electrification in Ladakh.
It is pertinent to note here that the central government, had recently approved intra-state transmission works at a revised cost of Rs 1309.71 crore to link far-flung villages of Ladakh to the grid. The project which has been approved by the Modi government includes 220 KV S/C transmission lines of D/C tower (total 307 km), including Kargil-Padum (Zanskar) (207 km) and Phyang to Diskit (Nubra) (100 km) and two 220/33 KV Grid substation – one each at Diskit, Nubra (50 MVA) and Padum, Zanskar (50 MVA) with an outlay of INR 1309.71 crore.
“These transmission lines will link far-flung villages to the Grid and phase out DG sets used in far-flung villages, thus taking one more step towards achieving Carbon Neutrality in Ladakh. This will also provide the Army and far-flung villages with clean power round the clock,” Lt Governor RK Mathur had said while congratulating the people of Ladakh on the approval of the project on May 29, 2021.
Besides, the Modi government has also decided to set up 5,000 MW and 2,500 MW solar power projects in Ladakh and Kargil respectively, under its clean energy initiative. According to the reports, the proposed plan to install 5,000 MW of solar energy in Ladakh will make it the largest single-location solar photovoltaic plant in the world. The solar power projects in Ladakh and Kargil are slated to be completed by 2023 at an estimated investment of Rs 45,000 crore.