The public investment board (PIB) had last year given its nod to the Union power ministry’s proposal to revive the 60MW hydel project near Bilkhawtlir, about 135km from Aizawl.
''After arduous work of removing scrubs, trees and weeds, construction works actually began from September this year. At present, we are working on two diversion tunnels, 782 metres each, which we hope to complete by January next year,'' Gard, general manager of Patel Engineering Ltd, told visiting journalists on Friday.
The hydel project is designed to generate 60 MW of power 12 per cent of which would be shared by the state.
Works on the hydel project to produce electricity by harnessing the Tuirial river, initially pegged at Rs 359 crore, came to a grinding halt during the Mizo National Front ministry in 2003 following compensation row.
When Lal Thanhawla, who had laid the foundation stone during his previous tenure on September 12, 2007, came back in power, he took initiatives to revive the abandoned project.
Finally, the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (Neepco) was saddled with the responsibility to install the power plant with a revised outlay fixed at Rs 913 crore. The Neepco has awarded the contract to Patel Engineering Ltd.
The power tariff in the first year after commissioning of this much-vaunted project has been fixed at Rs 3.70 per unit.
A senior official of power and electricity, who accompanied the journalists at the site, said the government of Mizoram would get 12 per cent of the power generated from the hydel project free of cost.
Mizoram, at present, is a power-deficit state where the demand for power is 120MW while supply from various sources, including the state power department, is approximately 60MW.
The project envisaged the construction of a 77-metre-high earthen dam across Tuirial, a tributary of the Barak.
A surface power station on the left bank of the river at the toe of this dam would be constructed at Bilkhawtlir for generation of 60MW of power at 45 per cent load factor.
Patel engineers complained of bad roads connecting the project site. Road from Bilkhawthlir to Serlui B hydel project was okay, but the remaining road-from Serlui B project to Tuirial project-remained unmaintained since long time back, they said.
The 27-kilometre track from Saiphai to the project site took three hours.
The engineers requested the state works department to repair the road to ensure expeditious works.