SHILLONG, July 18 - North Eastern Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) today said Assam is a flood-prone State and therefore blaming the Ranganadi dam as the cause of flood in North Lakhimpur district is highly misplaced.
NEEPCO officials said that 23 districts of Assam have been affected by flood. Therefore, to say that one of the dams in Arunachal Pradesh is responsible for the flood in North Lakhimpur is totally misplaced.
All Assam Students’ Union has demanded the closure of Ranganadi dam terming it as a water bomb. The students’ organisation blames the dam as one of the causes for the flood in Lakhimpur.
However, NEEPCO Chairman and Director, AG West Kharkongkor today disagreed and said here that its Ranganadi dam in fact was able to divert some of the flood water for power generation thereby reducing the effect of flood in Lakhimpur.
He said that the gates were opened before June 30 and it is not a fact that additional water was discharged. It is the natural flow of flood water from upstream that flowed down.
“There is this misinformation about the Ranganadi dam being one of the causes for the flood, but it may be mentioned that timely warnings were given. Moreover, the catchment area upstream and downstream is more or less same,” SK Singh, NEEPCO Director (Technical) said.
He said that the catchment area upstream is 1,894 square kilometre and the catchment area is 1,047 square kilometre downstream. So the downstream in itself is prone to flood during Monsoon season with such a large catchment area, irrespective of the dam.
The Corporation did acknowledge that there has been some communication gap between the Corporation and the district administration in creating awareness about the dam’s safety features.
The official said that despite cautioning the people through the district administration about the threat of flood more education and awareness programmes are needed.
Singh said, during the pre-monsoon season the “preparedness level needs to be high.” This is one area the Corporation needs to engage with the district administration more proactively as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.
NEEPCO officials said the Corporation needs “more cooperation” from the Assam Government so that people do not inhabit near the Ranganadi river, especially during the Monsoon season.
The NEEPCO has therefore briefed Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal a few days ago about the “misinformation” about flooding caused from water discharge from its Ranganadi dam.
“We have met the Assam Chief Minister and explained to him about our position regarding discharge of water from the Ranganadi dam. He gave us a patient hearing,” Singh said.