NEW DELHI, May 18 � Notwithstanding the controversy over the construction of mega dams in the North-east, the Centre has ruled out the possibility of reviewing the proposals for the construction of the big dams in the region.
Union Minister of State for Power KCVenugopal, however, added that the concern of the local people on the safety of the dams including the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project and 1750-MW Lower Demwe Hydroelectric Project have been given due consideration.
On the concerns of downstream impact, a joint steering committee has been constituted by the NHPC last April to suggest feasible and practicable remedial measures in the downstream areas with reference to the expert group�s recommendations on the downstream impact of the Subansiri Lower Dam (Phase II) along with issues related to floods, bank erosion and sediment control.
Also, as recommended by the Inter-ministerial Group headed by the Secretary (Water Resources), a cumulative Environment Impact Assessment Study of Lohit Sub-basin has been completed by WAPCOS and studies for the Subansiri and Siang Sub-basins have been commissioned by the Central Water Commission (CWC), the Minister said in reply to a question by Rajen Gohain.
The CWC has informed that the seismic data and past history of earthquakes in the country are maintained by the Indian Meteorological Department, which includes the earthquake of 1950. All such information has been taken into account for carrying out the seismic studies during submission of proposal of Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric projects, the Minister said.
Further, the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) has informed that the occurrence of the 1950 earthquake was considered during the site specific earthquake design parameters study for the project by the Department of Earthquake Engineering, IIT Roorkee.
The Minister was replying to a question whether the Government has considered the possible consequences of the disaster from big water reservoir from a big dam like Lower Subansiri.
The Minister said as per the wishes of the Assam Government, the NHPC has constituted an expert group consisting of experts from IIT, Guwahati, Gauhati University and Dibrugarh University to study the downstream impact of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power project. The expert group submitted its final report last March.
Following the Assam Government�s concern regarding structural safety of the dam, the Planning Commission has appointed a two-member Technical Experts Committee to study the technical reports of the expert group, the Minister said.
Meanwhile, 10 hydroelectric projects with aggregate capacity of 7,221 MW have been allotted by Arunachal Pradesh in Lohit River Basin.
According to the CWC, out of the 10 projects, 1750 MW Lower Demwe Hydroelectric Project has been accorded environmental clearance and in-principle forest clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.