NEW DELHI, Sept 9 � Assam has lodged a protest with the Centre, alleging that the Arunachal Pradesh Government has kept it in the dark about the construction of hydro-power projects upstream of the Brahmaputra water system.
At the Conference of the Power Ministers of States, Assam Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi said that MoUs have been signed for the construction of a number of hydroelectric projects in Arunachal Pradesh. These projects are slated to be run-of-the-river (RoR) projects without any storage or flood moderation system and all of them are coming up on rivers that flow through Assam.
As a downstream State, Assam has been kept in the dark in the entire decision-making process for building such a large number of hydro projects upstream of the Brahmaputra water system.
The State Power Minister suggested that while individual environment impact assessment studies would certainly be conducted on the projects, the overall cumulative effect on the downstream areas of Assam needs to be gauged.
The course of action recommended by the Assam Government is that according to the National Water Policy, adequate flood cushion should be provided in the upstream projects.
A concrete Reservoir Regulation Policy has to be put into place for all the hydro projects so as to address the issue of large variation between maximum and minimum discharge and annual run-off prior to the DPR preparation stage, which these projects have cleared.
While taking up a project involving the use of multi-State river waters, the interests of all co-basin riparian States should be equally recognised. As the water-related issues are between the States of the same nation, the use of rivers should not be based on any theory of �territorial sovereignty� but on territorial integrity.
Bordoloi urged the Union Power Minister to take the initiative to arrange for a holistic study on the entire issue.
The Assam Government has reasons to be peeved with the Arunachal Pradesh Government because it spiked the Centre�s ambitious proposal for creation of the North East Water Resources Authority.