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Arunachal mounts pressure on Centre for dams

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Oct 24 � At a time when different political parties and organizations of Assam are launching movements against construction of mega dams, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh is mounting pressure on the Centre for getting necessary clearance for setting up of 132 hydropower projects.

Highly-placed sources in the Ministry of Environment and Forests told The Assam Tribune that the Government of Arunachal Pradesh has been following up the issue with concerned Ministries of the Centre regularly. Arunachal Government, in its letters to the Government of India, is trying to give a picture that the construction of the hydropower projects would benefit the entire North-east region.

Sources said that on its part, the Government of Assam has not been able to follow up the matter with the concerned ministries of the Government of India. The Assam Government had demanded a comprehensive downstream study on the environment impacts of the hydropower projects sought to be constructed in Arunachal Pradesh. But the Assam Government has not been following up the issue as vigorously at regular intervals as is done by the Arunachal Pradesh Government, sources added.

Sources revealed that of the 132 power projects proposed in Arunachal Pradesh, 23 are mega projects with the capacity to generate at least 500 MW of power. As per the proposals, the 23 mega projects would generate 31,580 MW of power.

Official sources revealed that of the proposed hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh, the Siang project would be the biggest with the capacity to generate 11,000 MW of power. But this project is sought to be constructed in phases. The other major proposed projects include Nyamjangchu project with a capacity to generate 788 MW of power, Tawang I project with 600 MW capacity, Tawang II project with the capacity to generate 800 MW of power Heo project with 210 MW capacity and Tato project with 170 MW capacity.

Sources said that as a part of its efforts to get the clearance of the projects, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh has been writing letters to the concerned ministries of the Government of India regularly. Only last week, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh wrote another letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests requesting for speedy clearance of the projects.

But interestingly, in the last letter, the Arunachal Pradesh Government tried to deal with the apprehensions expressed by different organizations of Assam and claimed that different organizations carried out basin studies for the projects. The Government of Arunachal Pradesh claimed that the projects would benefit the entire region in the days to come. The letter claimed that the Ranganadi project benefited the downstream areas but it did not mention about the floods reportedly caused by excess water from the project.

The letter said that at least 6000 persons are directly and indirectly employed in generating 1,000 MW of power and the power projects in Arunachal Pradesh would generate employment opportunities to at least 342000 persons. As Arunachal Pradesh would not have such a huge workforce, the other states of the region, particularly Assam would be benefited, the letter claimed. Assam would also get other economic benefits as all the materials for the projects would have to be brought from the downstream areas, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh said.

The Arunachal Pradesh Government further claimed that all apprehensions about the safety of the dams were taken care of while designing the projects, which would be run of the river projects.

However, the Government of India is yet to take the final decision regarding granting of environmental clearance for the proposed hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

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Arunachal mounts pressure on Centre for dams

GUWAHATI, Oct 24 � At a time when different political parties and organizations of Assam are launching movements against construction of mega dams, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh is mounting pressure on the Centre for getting necessary clearance for setting up of 132 hydropower projects.

Highly-placed sources in the Ministry of Environment and Forests told The Assam Tribune that the Government of Arunachal Pradesh has been following up the issue with concerned Ministries of the Centre regularly. Arunachal Government, in its letters to the Government of India, is trying to give a picture that the construction of the hydropower projects would benefit the entire North-east region.

Sources said that on its part, the Government of Assam has not been able to follow up the matter with the concerned ministries of the Government of India. The Assam Government had demanded a comprehensive downstream study on the environment impacts of the hydropower projects sought to be constructed in Arunachal Pradesh. But the Assam Government has not been following up the issue as vigorously at regular intervals as is done by the Arunachal Pradesh Government, sources added.

Sources revealed that of the 132 power projects proposed in Arunachal Pradesh, 23 are mega projects with the capacity to generate at least 500 MW of power. As per the proposals, the 23 mega projects would generate 31,580 MW of power.

Official sources revealed that of the proposed hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh, the Siang project would be the biggest with the capacity to generate 11,000 MW of power. But this project is sought to be constructed in phases. The other major proposed projects include Nyamjangchu project with a capacity to generate 788 MW of power, Tawang I project with 600 MW capacity, Tawang II project with the capacity to generate 800 MW of power Heo project with 210 MW capacity and Tato project with 170 MW capacity.

Sources said that as a part of its efforts to get the clearance of the projects, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh has been writing letters to the concerned ministries of the Government of India regularly. Only last week, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh wrote another letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests requesting for speedy clearance of the projects.

But interestingly, in the last letter, the Arunachal Pradesh Government tried to deal with the apprehensions expressed by different organizations of Assam and claimed that different organizations carried out basin studies for the projects. The Government of Arunachal Pradesh claimed that the projects would benefit the entire region in the days to come. The letter claimed that the Ranganadi project benefited the downstream areas but it did not mention about the floods reportedly caused by excess water from the project.

The letter said that at least 6000 persons are directly and indirectly employed in generating 1,000 MW of power and the power projects in Arunachal Pradesh would generate employment opportunities to at least 342000 persons. As Arunachal Pradesh would not have such a huge workforce, the other states of the region, particularly Assam would be benefited, the letter claimed. Assam would also get other economic benefits as all the materials for the projects would have to be brought from the downstream areas, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh said.

The Arunachal Pradesh Government further claimed that all apprehensions about the safety of the dams were taken care of while designing the projects, which would be run of the river projects.

However, the Government of India is yet to take the final decision regarding granting of environmental clearance for the proposed hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh.