GUWAHATI, March 11 � The State government has admitted that the 1750-MW Demwe Lower Hydroelectric Power Project on the Lohit River will have adverse impacts on the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Biosphere Reserve.
The State government�s counter-affidavit, signed by Extra Assistant Commissioner Tapash Deb and placed before the National Green Tribunal (in Appeal No. O.A. 92/2013; Bimal Gogoi versus Union of India and others), has stated in paragraph 6.2 that the downstream impacts of the project on the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park shall arise out of the changed water regimes, especially in the winter season as there shall be extremes of water fluctuations (35 cubic metres per second during non-generation and 1729 cubic metres per second during peak generation). Such a variation in a short span of time has no natural analogue in fresh water eco-systems. Dolphin ecology and grassland ecology are likely to be affected. But these affects need to be quantified based on available literature and expertise.
Moreover, effects of erosive forces arising out of this wide fluctuation may assume significant proportions in the winter season, too, when erosion is otherwise minimal, said the State government in its affidavit.
In paragraph 6.8 of the affidavit, the State government has admitted that the fluctuations of water flow in Lohit and its contiguous water channels in the river Dibang in the north and river Dibru in the south of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park will enhance and reduce the flow inside the numerous rivulets inside the National Park.
However, this remains to be quantified, said the State government. But, �in any case, it warrants the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam, under Section 35 (6) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972,� the government maintained.