GUWAHATI, Dec 7 – The process to hold tripartite meetings among the Government of India , Government of Assam and the agitators on the contentious issues concerning the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) has started. The Union Ministry of Power wrote a letter to the Assam Government on October 25 last to lead the initiative for convening the tripartite meeting. This was disclosed by Rakesh, Executive Director (ED) of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). This Government of India owned power Company is implementing the LSHEP. Rakesh was talking to this correspondent here today.
He said that the riparian rights of the people living in the downstream areas of the project are a major concern of the NHPC. The Corporation has now decided to keep one turbine operative round-the-clock to ensure a discharge of 225 to 250 cubic metres per second (cumecs) of water so as to maintain the pre-dam scenario so far as the lean period flow of the Subansiri River is concerned.
Since there is no exclusive flood cushioning in the LSHEP, its reservoir level is lowered to tackle the flash flood situation. The Assam and the Central Governments should ensure that the recommendations of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC) for providing sufficient dedicated flood cushion in Subansiri Upper and Subansiri Middle projects for effective flood control in the Subansiri basin, are implemented, said the NHPC ED.
He said the dam of the LSHEP would be storing the excess monsoon water which could be used for irrigation purpose by the other authorities.
The JSC, which was set up to go into the part–II of the recommendations of the Assam experts who studied the LSHEP earlier, has also suggested the modalities for reservoir operation.
The NHPC, Water Resources Department, Government of Assam and the Central Water Commission should work out the modalities for supervision of reservoir operation during flood season. They should set up an independent body to manage the reservoir operation, Rakesh said referring to the JSC report.
The India Meteorology Department has put in place a mechanism for flood forecasting and the NHPC will undertake flood control and anti-erosion measures in a stretch of 30 km in the downstream of the project, he said.
The downstream people will derive major benefit from regulation of the flow of the river, as, this will eliminate the problems of flood and erosion created by the river. The erosion activities of the river may be attributed to the wide fluctuation in the flow pattern of the river.
During the monsoon season, the normal flow of the river is 3,000 cumecs and its maximum flow is 14,000 cumecs. The lean season flow of the river is around 250 cumecs.
As, the turbines of the LSHEP will operate during the peak load hours the river will be maintaining its normal monsoon flow at least for four to five hours everyday. This will help in stabilizing the river course and this stabilization, along with the flood control and anti-erosion measures, the adverse downstream impacts of the river would be substantially minimized.
In the post-dam scenario, the downstream people will find the river flowing uniformly without causing any erosion etc, said the NHPC ED.