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Expert panel�s recommendations on dams

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 8 � A panel of experts, most with background in engineering and technology, have come up with recommendations seeking to solve probable problems in Assam arising from dams in Arunachal Pradesh.

Following a conference organised by Gauhati University Post Graduate Students Union, Ex General Secretary Forum, in October this year, the expert group today announced the set of major recommendations along with other advisory, which will be passed on to all stakeholders, including the Union Government, the governments of Assam and Arunachal and NHPC.

The recommendations, while acknowledging the need for energy generation to boost industrial development, described hydro-power as a clean and green source of energy and found it a �most sensible way� of meeting the country�s power need.

In the group�s opinion, all hydro-power projects should be planned and designed as multi-purpose projects to gain benefits such as flood mitigation, irrigation, navigation and water supply.

Ensuring the safety of life, property, and means of livelihood and traditional social life of the people in the downstream areas and protecting ecosystems was another recommendation of the group.

On the issue of fragility of the terrain on which dams are being built it was stated that dams in the region should be located in geologically stable and strong sites and incorporate designs that resist earthquake as per codal procedure for seismic zone V of India.

The group wanted the construction of Lower Sunbansiri dam to be temporarily stopped till all �reasonable doubts about its safety� are removed.

Another recommendation mentioned that the release of water from the reservoir during monsoon should be regulated and a system for forecasting inflow to the reservoir be established so that flood havocs could be averted downstream. Moreover, dam operation in dry season needs to be regulated to maintain adequate water for survival of eco-systems.

The expert panel favoured that operational policy, rules and regulations of the government be suitably modified to facilitate regulated release of water.

Another significant recommendation mentioned that for the Subansiri river in Assam a minimum flow of 450 cumec water should exist throughout the year. This would ensure the survival of fish, river dolphin and other aquatic life in adequate numbers.

Pushing for the concept of labyrinth spillway with a new shape called Piano Key Weir (PKW) that can be placed on top of existing or new dam spillways, the expert group said that it can be utillised for increasing spillway capacity, dam safety and storage capacity.

Focusing on Ranganadi Project and Lower Subansiri Project, it was recommended that appropriate measures be taken in downstream areas so that people of Assam could get the benefits of flood moderation, irrigation and water supply.

One of the major recommendations underlined the need for river training works and bank protection to eliminate adverse effects of flow and sediment load variation downstream of the projects.

Among other recommendations, the expert panel demanded that for projects in Arunachal Pradesh having downstream impacts on Assam, a minimum 10 per cent of cost of the project should be charged from each hydro project developer. These funds should be used for downstream mitigation plan and river bank protection work.

The experts who made the recommendation included Prof NK Choudhury, Prof AK Sarmah, Dr DK Paul, Prof Nayan Sarma and Prof MM Das among others, all having worked in top technical and engineering institutions of the country.

Those who made the recommendations were of the belief that with optimum harnessing of hydro power potential in the Northeast, the industrialisation process under various initiatives of central and state agencies would get a boost, and will help eliminate the problem of chronic unemployment.

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Expert panel�s recommendations on dams

GUWAHATI, Nov 8 � A panel of experts, most with background in engineering and technology, have come up with recommendations seeking to solve probable problems in Assam arising from dams in Arunachal Pradesh.

Following a conference organised by Gauhati University Post Graduate Students Union, Ex General Secretary Forum, in October this year, the expert group today announced the set of major recommendations along with other advisory, which will be passed on to all stakeholders, including the Union Government, the governments of Assam and Arunachal and NHPC.

The recommendations, while acknowledging the need for energy generation to boost industrial development, described hydro-power as a clean and green source of energy and found it a �most sensible way� of meeting the country�s power need.

In the group�s opinion, all hydro-power projects should be planned and designed as multi-purpose projects to gain benefits such as flood mitigation, irrigation, navigation and water supply.

Ensuring the safety of life, property, and means of livelihood and traditional social life of the people in the downstream areas and protecting ecosystems was another recommendation of the group.

On the issue of fragility of the terrain on which dams are being built it was stated that dams in the region should be located in geologically stable and strong sites and incorporate designs that resist earthquake as per codal procedure for seismic zone V of India.

The group wanted the construction of Lower Sunbansiri dam to be temporarily stopped till all �reasonable doubts about its safety� are removed.

Another recommendation mentioned that the release of water from the reservoir during monsoon should be regulated and a system for forecasting inflow to the reservoir be established so that flood havocs could be averted downstream. Moreover, dam operation in dry season needs to be regulated to maintain adequate water for survival of eco-systems.

The expert panel favoured that operational policy, rules and regulations of the government be suitably modified to facilitate regulated release of water.

Another significant recommendation mentioned that for the Subansiri river in Assam a minimum flow of 450 cumec water should exist throughout the year. This would ensure the survival of fish, river dolphin and other aquatic life in adequate numbers.

Pushing for the concept of labyrinth spillway with a new shape called Piano Key Weir (PKW) that can be placed on top of existing or new dam spillways, the expert group said that it can be utillised for increasing spillway capacity, dam safety and storage capacity.

Focusing on Ranganadi Project and Lower Subansiri Project, it was recommended that appropriate measures be taken in downstream areas so that people of Assam could get the benefits of flood moderation, irrigation and water supply.

One of the major recommendations underlined the need for river training works and bank protection to eliminate adverse effects of flow and sediment load variation downstream of the projects.

Among other recommendations, the expert panel demanded that for projects in Arunachal Pradesh having downstream impacts on Assam, a minimum 10 per cent of cost of the project should be charged from each hydro project developer. These funds should be used for downstream mitigation plan and river bank protection work.

The experts who made the recommendation included Prof NK Choudhury, Prof AK Sarmah, Dr DK Paul, Prof Nayan Sarma and Prof MM Das among others, all having worked in top technical and engineering institutions of the country.

Those who made the recommendations were of the belief that with optimum harnessing of hydro power potential in the Northeast, the industrialisation process under various initiatives of central and state agencies would get a boost, and will help eliminate the problem of chronic unemployment.