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Power priority for Khandu - Memorandum to PM stresses development agenda

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By DAULAT RAHMAN
  • Published 23.02.11
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Itanagar, Feb. 22: Arunachal Pradesh has asserted that it would become one of the leading states of the country both economically as well as socially by commissioning its various hydropower projects.

Sources told The Telegraph that in a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu stated that his government has prioritised hydropower as the main goal of its development agenda in the state.

According to sources, the chief minister, in the memorandum, has pointed that out of the available potential of 50,000MW, more than 40,000 MW has been allotted to various public sector undertakings and private developers for harnessing the vast resources in the state.

The revenue earned from upfront premium and processing fees from project developers touched Rs 1,320.31 crore till December 2010 enriching the state coffer.

Vice-chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who was the chief guest of the inaugural function of the 25th Statehood Day celebration of Arunachal Pradesh at Itanagar on Sunday, said once the existing hydel power projects in Subansiri, Siang, Lohit and Kameng rivers are commissioned, they would generate Rs 10,000 crore revenue for the state making it the richest in the country.

Such an assertion has come at a time when Assam is witnessing a series of protests against construction of hydroelectric projects in Arunachal Pradesh on grounds of possible adverse downstream impacts.

A committee, comprising experts from Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University and IIT Guwahati, has recommended that the ongoing construction of Lower Subansiri Hydel Power Project must be stopped at its present site at Gerukamukh, along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.

The committee, constituted by the Assam government, said the project would have adverse downstream impact endangering ecology and human lives in Assam.

Union environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh held a public hearing with various organisations last year on the issue of construction of big dams on rivers in Arunachal Pradesh to generate electricity.

Khandu said 95 languishing mini and micro hydel projects would be revived by the end of next year under the Prime Minister’s package, which will add almost 80.45MW power to the existing capacity of Arunachal Pradesh.

The chief minister said not only does it help in undertaking various developmental projects for the state, the revenue generated by the power projects has helped the funds-starved Arunachal Pradesh in fulfilling the 6th Pay Commission’s recommendations for its government employees in toto.

Khandu said availability of power has been identified as a key factor for determining the development index of a state and considering this critical aspect, the government has been endeavouring to promote electrification in all parts, especially rural areas.

Sources said electrification of 909 villages benefiting 10,648 people has been achieved under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana with further plans to electrify 3,854 villages benefiting 76,407 people by 2011-12.