Guwahati, Jan. 21: The two-member technical expert committee set up by the Planning Commission to comprehensively review of the Lower Subansiri hydel project has recommended a review of the dam’s “design features”.
A press release issued here today by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) stated that the panel, headed by the chairman, Central Water Commission (CWC), would review the design features of the dam. It has been given three months and its recommendations will be binding on the corporation.
“The review is only for the design of the dam and not for its structure,” Rakesh, executive director of NHPC looking after the project, told The Telegraph.
The technical experts committee comprises CWC ex-chairmen C.D. Thatte and M.S. Reddy. The committee has recommended constitution of a dam safety review panel with external experts for post-construction inspection of the dam.
On operational aspects, the committee has recommended reservoir management by an independent authority with flood control as the primary objective. Accordingly, a reservoir regulation committee chaired by a CWC member will be set up for operating the reservoir to ensure optimum flood moderation benefits.
As recommended by the committee, NHPC has agreed to run one unit continuously to ensure minimum downstream flow of 250 cumecs and the Central Electricity Authority has also given its consent in this regard.
On allocation of power, the Centre is considering the proposal supported by NHPC and also recommended by the committee to allocate 300MW unallocated paid power to Assam. This would be in addition to 233MW already allocated, thus bringing the total power available to the state from the project to 533MW.
The committee has also recommended a mechanism to ensure that NHPC discharges its corporate social responsibility in equal measure in both upstream and downstream areas of the project.
There has been no work at the site since December 11, 2011, escalating the project cost from Rs 6,285.33 crore to Rs 10,799.63 crore. The corporation has already spent Rs 5,383.24 crore with more than 50 per cent of the work being completed.
“With these measures recommended by the committee, safety of the dam, flood protection in downstream areas and mitigation of environmental impact would be ensured. NHPC reiterates its commitment to implement these measures,” the release stated.