Kishanganga power project

Kishanganga power project Kishanganga power project, and (inset) the team who transported TBM

A long-cherished dream is becoming a reality on Saturday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the 330 Mega Watt (MW) Kishanganga Hydro Power project to nation.

An engineering marvel, the project, constructed near Line of Control (LoC) in Gurez, saw many ups and downs and international arbitration after Pakistan's objections.

Constructed at a cost of Rs 2726 crore, the work on this power project started in 2007 in the geologically complex Himalayan region. Spread over 379 hectares across two valleys, it has an integrated project with rockfill dam, tunnel and powerhouse being built under one single contract.

The highlight of the project is the 23.24-km-long head race tunnel. "It was built by two methods. "Around 8.14 km from Gurez side was built by Drill and Blast (DBM) method while the 15.1 km from Bandipora side was by Tunnel Boring Machine. The remote location throws numerous logistical and connectivity challenges for transportation of heavy machinery, men and material," said IA Benny Project Manager, Hindustan Construction Company.

The biggest challenge for the engineers was the transporting TBM from Mumbai to the project site. The shipment containing 160 containers was planned in three lots. Lot 1 had 52 containers plus 10 Over Dimensional Consignments (ODCs), Lot 2 had 48 containers plus eight ODC and Lot 3 had 45 containers.

The major hurdle was crossing the Jawahar Tunnel connecting Jammu with Kashmir. The height of Jawahar tunnel at 4.6 metres was just enough to clear the containers. However for transporting ODC special trailers were used with depleted tyres.

"We are very proud to say that we could complete the strategic project. On May 19, the PM will dedicate this project to nation. We are part of the nation building and we are proud of it," said Benny.

The project, however, ran into rough weather number of times after Pakistan appealed to the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA), complaining that Kishanganga Hydro Power project violates the 1960 Indus River Treaty by increasing the catchment of the Jhelum River and depriving Pakistan of its water rights in 2010.

Under the 1960 treaty, India has forfeited the claim to use and store the waters of three rivers —Jhelum, Chenab and Indus — flowing from Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan in exchange of three rivers — Satluj, Beas and Ravi. The treaty prevents the storage of the water of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus rivers otherwise owned by the state.

In June 2011, the CoA visited both Kishanganga and Neelum–Jhelum Projects. In August 2011, the court ordered India to submit more technical data on this project.

After Pakistan's application was rejected, the court asked India in late September 2011 to stop constructing any permanent works that would inhibit restoration of the river. While India could not construct the dam, NHPC continued the work on the tunnel and power house in the hope that the court order will finally favour India.

On December 20, 2013, the International Court of Arbitration gave its final ruling, wherein it allowed India to go ahead with the construction of the Kishanganga dam. The final verdict specified that nine cumecs of natural flow of water must be maintained in Kishanganga river at all times to maintain the environment downstream.


  • The highlight of the project is the 23.24-km-long head race tunnel. 
  • Around 8.14 km from Gurez side was built by Drill and Blast (DBM) method while the 15.1 km from Bandipora side was by Tunnel Boring Machine. 
  • The biggest challenge was transportation of TBM from Mumbai to the site.