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Centre forms expert panel on big dams

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, March 13 � The Planning Commission has appointed a two-member Technical Experts Committee after Government of Assam flagged the structural safety of the big dams constructed in Arunachal Pradesh.

Based on the concerns raised by Government of Assam regarding structural safety of the dams, Planning Commission has recently appointed a two-member Technical Experts Committee., said Minister of State for Power, KC Venugopal in reply to a Lok Sabha question by Joseph Toppo.

The Government of Assam has been requested to indicate the names of their nominees for the steering group to be constructed by National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) to address the issues relating to downstream impact, the Minister added.

The State Government has recently nominated Secretary, Water Resources Department, as their nominee, Venugopal informed.

On the request of the Assam Government, NHPC constituted an expert group consisting of experts from IIT, Guwahati, Gauhati University and Dibrugarh University to study the downstream impact of the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Project.

The Minister further added that as of today, three hydro electric projects of above 25 MW including Lower Subansiri, 600 MW Kameng and 110 MW Pare are under� construction in Arunachal Pradesh-Assam.

The Minister further admitted that Government of Assam has expressed concern over the adverse impact of the Lower Subansiri.

In a separate reply, Venugopal said that construction of hydro-electric project is taken up only after it achieves financial closure and has tied-up inputs, clearance and linkages. Before according concurrence to the Detailed Project Report of the Project, Central Electicity Authority (CEA) examines all the technical aspects. Similarly, Ministry of Environment and Forest accords environment and forest clearances based on environment impact assessment study and Environment Management Plan.

However, some of the issues like geological surprises, local agitation and other law and order related ��problem cannot be foreseen in advance, leading to delay in commissioning of the some of the affected projects, the Minister said.

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