NEW DELHI, Sept 10 – The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices responding to a petition filed by Assam Public Works (APW) seeking a direction to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) to reassess the downstream impact of the proposed middle and upper Subansiri dams beyond 10 km downstream of the dam.
A Division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya issued notices to MoEF, Ministry of Power, NHPC, Governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The petitioner has called for directions to release water from the middle and upper Subansiri dams the minimum sustainable flow year round needed for the river to survive ecologically in Arunachal and the plains of Assam
The APW has sought directions to NHPC not to close the diversion tunnels on commissioning of the project as the sustenance water of 450 cu3m/sec has to flow through these diversion tunnels which can save the downstream river from ecological annihilation.
It wanted the Apex Court to intervene and issue directions to NHPC and Government of India not to commission the dam without completion of the downstream protection up to Brahmaputra through embankments in a scientific way. It wanted the NHPC to ensure that sand deposition in the agricultural fields do not occur during ‘sand flushing operation’ of the dam in a high flood situation and also ensure flooding in a controlled way through the embankment.
The petitioner has called for release the minimum sustenance flow natural water of 450cu3m/sec from the Subansiri Lower Hydro electric Power Project (SLHEP) Dam all through the year for ecological sustenance of the river, which will keep the river ecologically healthy specially in the lean period of the winter;
The NHPC would be required to release the sustenance water of 450cu3m/sec of natural water ‘automatically’, without any human control over it.