HAFLONG, June 19 � The Kopili Hydro Electric Project (KHEP) of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO), at Umrangso in Dima Hasao district may face dire consequences as the river and reservoir water has turned acidic resulting in damage to underwater equipment of the project, alleged the conscious people of Dima Hasao.
It is learnt that the water of the reservoir and Kopili river adjacent to the Meghalaya State is becoming acidic due to effluents released from opencast mining operations in Meghalaya since 2004. Due to this development, fish species and water insects have disappeared from these water bodies and the pH value of water has come down from 5.5 to 3.2, which is not at all recommended for human consumption. At the downstream of Kopili river up to Kheroni, no living organism is found due to contamination river water. Moreover, the fate of the upcoming Lower Kopili Hydro Electric Project will face uncertainty if proper steps are not taken in time. The NEEPCO at Umrangso, the only plant of the Dima Hasao district, is also a prime victim of increase in acidic content in water as presence of sulphuric acid in water will definitely damage the underwater instruments of the power project.
On being asked about the situation, Pradyut Bordoloi, State Power & Industries Minister, said, �Yes, it�s a serious problem; effluents coming out from opencast coal mining on the upstream of Meghalaya are polluting the water of Kopili river and the reservoir water. We the governments of Assam and Meghalaya have to jointly take steps to solve the problem. I will take up the matter with the Chief Minister of Meghalaya soon.�
The poor people of Umrangso are unaware of the dire consequences of such a situation. They have appealed to the concerned authority to take immediate necessary steps so that KHEP does not face any crisis and the lives of people could be saved.