Panel call to resume Subansiri dam work

Removal of stumbling blocks gets priority

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 1.05.16
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The Lower Subansiri hydel project. Telegraph picture

Guwahati, April 30: A parliamentary panel has recommended "removing the stumbling blocks" in implementation of the Lower Subansiri hydel project, located on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary, at the earliest.

The department-related parliamentary standing committee on home affairs, in its report placed in the current session of Parliament, said efforts must be intensified to remove the stumbling blocks in implementation of the project.

The committee observed that while the Northeast has a huge potential for generation of hydropower, the efforts of the implementation agencies have not translated this into gains for the region and the nation.

A re-assessment of the country's hydroelectric potential, completed by the Central Electricity Authority, identifies the country's hydropower potential to be 1,48,701MW. Of this, 62,604MW is in the Northeast, including 4,248MW (2,007MW developed and 5,480MW under development) in Sikkim.

The committee has recommended that the home ministry exhort the implementing public sector undertakings and other agencies to accelerate the pace of hydropower generation in the Northeast.

The Lower Subansiri hydel project, located at Gerukamukh village, has been stalled since December 2011 owing to opposition from various groups. Authorities said the project is likely to be commissioned between 2019 and 2021.

An NHPC (the implementing agency) official said it is actively engaging all stakeholders for early resumption of construction activities. "Once the work starts, it will take four working seasons to get the project commissioned. The machinery is getting rusted and the financial burden is increasing on the company," he added.

Recently, four experts from Assam, who were a part of the eight-member project oversight committee for the hydel project, had opposed resumption of work on the stalled dam in their final report, citing seismological and geological reasons. Jatin Kalita, B.P. Duarah, Chandan Mahanta and S.P. Biswas, comprising the Assam expert group, submitted their reports separately in January to the Union power ministry, citing difference of opinion with the government-selected members.

The committee, which was formed in December 2014, after a discussion with organisations protesting against the project, comprised four experts selected by the groups and four others selected by the Centre and other stakeholders.

The purpose of the committee was to review the reports of the dam design review panel, comprising C.D. Thatte and M.S. Reddy, formed to look into the structural and seismological aspects of the project.