The 1500MW Naptha Jhakri hydro project located on the river Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh, India, has been severely hit by flash floods following heavy monsoon rains.

The US$1.2B project has already suffered delays of about five years due to geological surprises, irregular purchases, labour trouble and a similar flash flood ten years ago. However, its present misfortune has come at a time when the project appeared to have got over past disappointments and was likely to commission its first unit by late 2001.

Flood water entered the main underground tunnel and swept away part of the construction work and damaged machinery. The floods have also washed away sections of road and major bridges on the highway used by the project for communication.

The total damage is still being assessed, but it may take months before work resumes, pushing up costs and delaying the project further.