V.K. Singh joined the board of NEEPCO as director, technical, in March 2016. He brings to the table about three decades of experience in hydropower development. In the past, he has been responsible for preparing pre-feasibility reports of hydro projects under the Government of India’s 50,000 MW Hydro Initiative. He has also undertaken preparation of the electromechanical design and engineering of NHPC’s Chamera Stages II and III, Teesta Low Dam III and IV, Nimmo Bazgo and Chutak hydroelectric projects. Prior to joining NEEPCO, Singh was executive director (Uttarakhand power stations) at NHPC. He has an M.Tech from IIT Kharagpur.
Commenting on the current state of the power sector, Singh remarks that although the thermal and renewable energy segments have gained traction, hydropower development has suffered a setback. This has been primarily due to issues pertaining to land acquisition and local resistance. “In a country like India that has large demographic diversities, the right kind of energy mix is a must, including distributed generation. There is a need to ensure that hydropower grows at a fast pace through policy interventions,” Singh remarks.
According to him, an integrated power policy covering generation, transmission and distribution under a single umbrella is needed to ensure last mile connectivity. “The unbundling of generation, transmission and distribution in the states has to be followed up with professional management of these utilities, including privatisation of distribution with tight regulatory monitoring,” he says.
Looking back, he recalls the construction of the Chamera I project in Himachal Pradesh and the restoration of the Dhauliganga hydroelectric plant in the aftermath of the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 as his most memorable assignment. “While Chamera I posed technical challenges of the highest order, the Dhauliganga restoration tested my strategic planning and implementation abilities to the hilt,” says Singh.
Singh has a hands-on management style and believes in developing the full potential of his team before delegating work. In his spare time, he likes to read about the power sector. “Reading about the sector gives me immense pleasure and is relaxing, which creates a work-life balance for me,” remarks Singh. Later in life, he intends to engage in social work and philanthropy.