Guwahati, Thursday, May 17, 2018
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NEEPCO plans flood storage project for Ranganadi
AJIT PATOWARY
 GUWAHATI, May 16 - The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has identified a site for an upstream project of moderate flood storage for the Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project (RHEP). The upstream project is planned in Arunachal Pradesh as one of the long-term measures to prevent flood in the downstream areas of the RHEP in Lakhimpur district, sources in the public sector power company said.It needs mention here that the NEEPCO has been facing severe public criticism for its alleged release of water from the RHEP dam recklessly, causing immense flood damage in the project’s downstream areas in Lakhimpur district.

This project, being designed to generate 50-MW of hydroelectric power, will have a gross storage capacity of 115 million cubic metres (MCMs) and a live storage capacity of 61 MCMs. With a 6.5-km-long reservoir and a submergence area of 268 hectares, it is expected to contain a flood peak of around 2,500 cubic metres per second (cumecs).

The project is estimated to cost around Rs 1,400 crore and efforts are on to obtain a grant of Rs 800 crore from the Central government for it. No major displacement for executing this project is anticipated as yet, sources said.

On the other hand, after a series of deliberations among the Shillong-based North Eastern Space Application Centre (NESAC), NEEPCO and Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Guwahati, an approach consisting of a state-of-the-art network of weather stations and digital water level sensors with near real time data reception facility or system transmitted via INSAT series of satellites, has been formulated.

Following this development, the NESAC is in a process of installing 17 additional automatic weather stations and four automatic water level recorders in the RHEP catchment area before the onset of the ensuing monsoon.

Moreover, as part of the dam safety programme, the NEEPCO is establishing instruments for automatic reservoir level recording with connectivity to the control room in the existing Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project. This system for recording reservoir level is expected to be completed before July this year, sources said.

The process for installation of the trash rack cleaning machine is also under progress. This machine will make it possible to operate the reservoir near its minimum draw down level (MDDL), sources said.

Prof Arup Kumar Sarma of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, who studied the 2017 Ranganadi flood that devastated a vast area of Lakhimpur district, has in his draft report mentioned the limitation of the RHEP reservoir and the flashy nature of Ranganadi river as some of the major factors that caused the flood.

The remedies suggested by Prof Sarma, which are connected with the NEEPCO, are in different stages of implementation.

Besides, as part of its short-term measures, the NEEPCO has procured 13 electrically operated and five manually operated sirens. These sirens will be installed within May this year at locations identified by the Lakhimpur District Disaster Management Authority. The DDMA had placed a request for supply of these sirens.

The NEEPCO had installed eight sirens in 2009-10 to make the people aware of an impending deluge, sources said.

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