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Total shutdown of RHEP from Feb 1 to April 30 announced

 GUWAHATI, Jan 25 - The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has announced that its 405-MW Ranganadi Hydroelectric Power Project (RHEP) will be under ‘total shutdown’ from February 1 to April 30 for important repair works at various locations of the project.

NEEPCO sources said that a circular has been issued by the Senior Manager (Civil), Hydro Structure (Maintenance) of the RHEP in this connection.

However, according to a report in yesterday’s Arunachal Times, two organisations of Arunachal Pradesh, namely the All Kimin Youth Welfare Association (AKYWA) and the Lichi-Cher Ranganadi Project Affected Area Management Committee (LCRPAAMC) have warned that they would not allow the shutdown as it would mean release of huge silt load into the Ranganadi, known as the Panyor in Arunachal Pradesh.

Repairs have become necessary in the power house, surge shaft gates, tunnel, intake, dam gates, etc of the RHEP. The repairs will require dewatering of the reservoir and the tunnel. For the purpose, the inflow of the Ranganadi river shall have to be diverted from entering the RHEP tunnel and the diverted water would be released to the downstream by opening the radial gates of the Ranganadi dam.

Dewatering of the reservoir may take a maximum of four days and during this period one cubic metre per second (cumec) of water, in addition to the normal river flow shall have to be released, following which the normal river flow will continue during the entire shutdown period, informed sources, adding that the river would continue to carry its normal flow during the period.

The Senior Manager (Civil) Hydro Structure (Maintenance) of the RHEP mentioned in the circular that after completion of the total shutdown programme, the reservoir and the tunnel shall be refilled and the radial gates of the dam shall be subsequently closed and normal operation/maintenance of the project shall be restored.

He therefore sought circulation of the above facts among the villagers residing in and around the reservoir area as well as on the bank of the Ranganadi (Paniyor) river in the downstream of the Diversion Dam and Dikrong (Pare) (Downstream of Power House) not to go near the reservoir or the bank of the Ranganadi and Dikrong rivers.

They should also be asked to keep their domestic animals away from the river in order to avoid any accident/loss thereof. Moreover, the general public should avoid going on picnic near the banks of the Ranganadi and the Dikrong during the shutdown period so as to avoid any accident, it was further mentioned.

He warned that the NEEPCO will not shoulder “any responsibility for any loss/damage of life/property etc., in case any accident occurs owning to violation of the said notice.”

Meanwhile, when contacted, Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) sources told this newspaper that the total shutdown proposed by the NEEPCO in its RHEP would have no major impact on the power scenario of Assam as it is lean season for hydro-electric power projects due to low water level in the reservoirs.

Moreover, the power demand in Assam during February and March is also comparatively less than that of the peak summer season. At present, the State is drawing nominal amount of power from the project, sources added.

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