GUWAHATI, June 23 � Noted engineer Dr Arati Baruah has claimed that the August 15, 2011 flood of the Jiadhol river in Dhemaji district was the result of the sand-flushing operation of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC). Dr Baruah, who works with the Boeing Company in the United States as a senior specialist engineer, had travelled to the Jiadhol source in December last year to find out the cause of the flood.
It needs mention here that the Jiadhol on August 15, 2011, destroyed a Barman Gaon, a village close to the district headquarter town of Dhemaji, leading to the evacuation of the villagers to other areas. The river also posed threat to Dhemaji town.
In a statement mailed to this correspondent, Dr Baruah said that there are a number of small rivulets and nallahs in that region and the NHPC authorities did not take them into consideration. Therefore, the flushed-out sand found a way to the Jiadhol. The Baghinijan channel, flowing through North Lakhimpur, was also made to carry a huge amount of water released by the NHPC authorities. All these channels are so interlinked that any attempt at undermining them may lead to serious consequences.
It happened so in the case of the August 15, 2011 Jiadhol-caused deluge and the flood water that made the Baghinijan volatile. The developments reflect the ignorance of the NHPC authorities about the local topography, particularly about the hilly terrain of Arunachal Pradesh. They are missing the nallahs, Baruah said. Earlier, she had made this fact public at a press conference in Guwahati on December 24, 2011.
But, she regrets that there is no indication from the NHPC authorities that they are apologetic and would pull out from the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP). Rather, they have declared with impudence that they would resume construction of the project without any holistic study on its environmental impacts. This reflects the negligent attitude of the NHPC authorities towards the local people, besides their intention to harness the hydel potentials of the NE rivers, without bothering for the fate of the local people, Baruah said.
When the NHPC flushed out their sand they had no idea of the connecting nallahs. These nallahs are recorded in the hand-drawn maps by the Geological Survey of India cartographers. NHPC needs to come clear on all these problems and fix the Dhemaji sand-flushing issue.
In the particular case of the August 15, 2011 flood, the sand appeared at the point where Siri, Sido and Sika have joined and emerged as the Jiadhol, Baruah said and announced her readiness to provide the evidence in support of her assertion. She also made an appeal to settle the dam safety-related issues of NE region amicably through broad-based discussions.