Guwahati, March 1: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki has mooted a “collective approach” to sort out inter-state disputes over hydro power with an open mind in the greater interest of the region.
The suggestion assumes significance in the context of the protests in neighbouring Assam that has stalled the progress of the 2,000MW NHPC Lower Subansiri project at Gerukamukh on the Arunachal-Assam border since December 2011.
It also has to be seen in context of Tuki’s overt reservation over the constitution of the North East Water Resources Authority (NEWRA) to help effectively manage the region’s rivers. It was first mooted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2004.
Tuki, who met the Prime Minister and finance minister P. Chidambaram separately in New Delhi today with a request to consider an additional allocation of Rs 600 crore for developmental projects this fiscal, made the suggestion for “collective appro-ach” during the 5th Meeting of the task force on Hydro Power Development in Delhi yesterday.
Sources in Dispur welcomed Tuki’s suggestion with Assam power minister Pradyut Bordoloi telling The Telegraph, “We appreciate his (Tuki) suggestions. We are also for a common water governance regime for the region, the directive of which would be binding on all. We are for a consensual and scientific harnessing of our water resources.”
An official said the Centre must now get all stakeholders to sit and thrash out a mutually beneficial road map while referring to the report of the group of ministers, constituted by Tarun Gogoi to look into the implications of the power projects being set up in the Brahmaputra basin.
The group had mooted adequate flood cushion in upstream projects, federal riverine law to regulate construction of multi-purpose dam projects and a regional body for management of water resource.
They had said downstream Assam did not possess adequate information about 86 of the 163 identified power projects being set up in Arunachal Pradesh.
Appealing for speedy environment and forest clearances to fast-track the hydro-power projects in his state, Tuki also stressed on proper basin studies with special reference to Siang and Subansiri and mooted steps to follow the recommendations of inter-ministerial B.K. Chaturvedi Committee regarding the sharing of hydrological data by Central Water Commission and Brahmaputra Board with developers, single window clearances, among others.