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NHPC boss to take up Akhil demand - Delhi to hear Subansiri project halt plea

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 28.08.12

Guwahati, Aug. 27: The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) today assured the KMSS that it would take up with the power ministry the demand for stopping work on the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project till discussions about its ramifications reached a logical conclusion.

The project, being implemented by the NHPC at Gerukamukh along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in Dhemaji district, is targeted to generate 2,000MW of electricity.

The KMSS, which is spearheading a movement against construction of big dams in the region, has been maintaining that execution of the lower Subansiri project would have an adverse downstream impact on human lives and the environment.

On the other hand, Dispur has been reiterating its commitment towards setting up the project.

KMSS today demanded during a meeting with top NHPC officials at a hotel here that the power major must come out with an official announcement and put a temporary halt to work at the project site till discussions with various stakeholders on the adverse downstream impact reached a logical and convincing conclusion.

The meeting, which was also attended by NHPC chairman-cum-managing director G. Sai Prasad, agreed to take up the KMSS demand with the Centre.

During the meeting, Prasad, who is also the joint secretary (hydro), ministry of power, said the NHPC would fully respect the wishes of the people of Assam in implementing its project at Gerukamukh. He assured the KMSS that its demand would be discussed by the power ministry.

Sources said the cost of the Subansiri project had escalated from Rs 6,285.33 crore to Rs 10,799.63 crore because of the delay in execution. NHPC has already spent Rs 5,383.24 crore, with more than 50 per cent of the work complete.

The revised commissioning date of the project has been postponed to December 2015.

KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said the meeting was held in a positive atmosphere and that NHPC had agreed to stop construction at the project site till discussions with the samiti and other anti-dam organisations were complete.

“We had demanded that work must be stopped at least for the next six months. Though the NHPC remained non-committal on the number of months, it was ready to discuss the issue with the power ministry. I think such an attitude and approach would create the right kind of environment to discuss the adverse impact of the lower Subansiri project scientifically and honestly,” Akhil said.

Members of Asam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad, who were also present in the meeting, raised the same demand.

NHPC director (projects) J.K. Sharma said today’s meeting was very important considering the fact that the chairman-cum-managing director of the power company himself had come down from New Delhi to attend it.

“Let all issues be discussed with a positive approach. We will take up the issues and concerns of organisations like KMSS with the power ministry.”