GUWAHATI, Sept 18 – The Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) has zero flood-cushioning provision as per the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation’s (NHPC’s) own admission. Without the Upper and Middle Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Projects, the LSHEP is meaningless as far as flood moderation is concerned.
A joint study committee (JSC), which studied the prospect of flood moderation in the Subansiri river with the above three power projects on it, said in its report, “In the Subansiri basin, integrated reservoir operation of Subansiri Lower, Subansiri Middle and Subansiri Upper projects shall be required for effective flood moderation in the downstream part.
“It is recommended that all the stake holders, including planners/State & Central government agencies may ensure that sufficient dedicated flood cushion is provided in Subansiri Upper and Subansiri Middle projects for effective flood control in the Subansiri basin. The upstream projects may be cleared with provision of sufficient flood cushion,” said the report of the JSC.
The JSC report was signed by DC Tripathi, chief (Geology), SLP, NHPC, AK Jain, chief engineer (D&E, NHPC), representatives of the Brahmaputra Board, Water Resources Department of the Arunachal Pradesh Government, Central Water Commission, a faculty of the Civil Engineering Department of the IIT, Roorkee, RC Sarma, Secretary WRD, Assam and Om Prakash, general manager of the SLP, NHPC on July 27 last.
Earlier, the ‘Integrated Flood Moderation Study’ conducted by the Hydrology Unit of the NHPC’s Design Division in 2005, said in its report (pp14 and 15), “…as Subansiri Lower dam is a low dam of only 116 metre height, the storage capacity of the dam is minimal and there would not be worthwhile flood mitigation through this reservoir. Therefore, flood moderation can be achieved only after constructing the upper two dams with provision of 10-15 metre exclusive flood cushion over and above reservoir regulation in monsoon months.”
But, significantly, the Upper and Middle Subansiri Hydel Projects have been handed over for execution to two private parties and there is every possibility of these two parties not cooperating with the NHPC even if it wants to go for an integrated plan for flood moderation under pressure from the people and the Government in Assam, said experts here.