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NHPC office to be back in Itanagar

Itanagar, July 31: The budget session of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly came to a close today with chief minister Nabam Tuki assuring members that the office of executive director of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd will be moved back to the state capital after it recently shifted operations to Guwahati.

Leader of the People’s Party of Arunachal Nikh Kamin raised the issue after various students and workers unions had voiced apprehension over the Union power ministry’s decision to move the regional office.

The BJP’s Tamar Murtem said the move would leave 52 Arunachal staff of the NHPC office unemployed. Nampong MLA Laisam Simai feared that the move could send a wrong signal about job security in the state.

Tuki, however, allayed fears and said the decision was taken “without the knowledge of the state government” and “it should not be seen as being against the state’s interest”.

The chief minister yesterday wrote to Union minister of state (independent charge) for power, coal and new and renewable energy Piyush Goyal seeking his personal intervention into the matter.

The NHPC is implementing six high-capacity projects in the state, including the 3,000MW Dibang multipurpose project, 600MW Tawang I and 800MW Tawang II projects, 3,750MW Siang Stage I, 6,000MW Siang Stage II and the 2,000MW Lower Subansiri project at Gerukamukh.

Work on the Gerukamukh project has been on hold since 2011 because of protests in Assam over its downstream impact. Tuki said Arunachal Pradesh has lost Rs 316 crore annually from its 12 per cent free power from the project.

Later responding to Opposition leader Tamiyo Taga on the status of the proposed Greenfield airport here, Tuki said the airport would be constructed in Hollongi near Itanagar despite protests by some civil society organisations over its location.

Despite its strategic importance, Arunachal Pradesh does not have a single operational commercial airport.

Responding to concerns raised by the BJP’s Japu Deru over poor connectivity, PWD minister Gojen Gadi said 123km of the 317km road from Balipara in Assam to Tawang had been competed so far.

Gadi said the 31km stretch between Sela Pass and Tawang and a stretch of 92km between Balipara and Sela had been completed and another 92km road would be completed by next year.

He said the delay has been caused because of a combination of factors such as problems on land acquisition terms, difficulty in procuring environmental clearances and a CBI inquiry into alleged irregularities in payment of compensations.

Tsering Tashi from Tawang constituency blamed the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for the slow pace of work when it took over the project from the PWD in 2008.