GUWAHATI, Aug 20 – The State Government and the people of Assam should immediately demand a comprehensive study on the safety of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP), its impacts on the downstream areas of Assam, its scopes for flood and erosion control etc, maintaining transparency at all levels.
Experts, who talked to this correspondent on condition of anonymity, offered the above opinion and also called for inclusion of the component of streamlining the course of the Subansiri downstream of the LSHEP, up to the river’s confluence point, in the power project.
They also suggested that proper sediment management of the downstream part of the river should be a part of the power project.
Besides, they said, the Assam Government should play a proactive role and initiate a process of dialogue involving all the stakeholders, without any further delay, for the sake of resolving the impasse over the project.
It needs mention here that already an amount of around Rs 7,000 crore has been spent on the power project, which is till date the biggest hydroelectric project of the country with a generation capacity of 2,000 MW.
In all, construction of around 30 per cent of the project has been completed and the major work of laying the eight tunnels from the intake points to the power station is completed so far.
Now, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), which is executing the project, is waiting for the arrival and installation of the main turbines and allied equipment.
Experts were annoyed that nobody had raised the issue of undertaking flood studies, including the reservoir operations, before taking up execution of the project after a Supreme Court of India order to go for the LSHEP only, following the conditions slapped by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
Earlier, the issue of flood moderation was linked to the integration of the Lower, Middle and Upper Subansiri Projects. But after the Supreme Court’s August 21, 2009 order, the three dam projects were to be considered separately.
And thus, it made it obligatory to study the flood-related issues of the LSHEP independently on the part of the authorities concerned. But right from the Assam Government to the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority, Central Water Commission, NHPC, Brahmaputra Board, MoEF, everyone maintained stoical silence, said the experts.