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Experts for multipurpose dam projects in NE

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 19 � Experts taking part at a panel discussion in a national seminar on socio-economic and institutional feasibility of utilisation of water resources in North East India here today were of the consensus that for optimal utilisation of the water resources of the region, only multipurpose dam projects should be taken up after appropriate study. The two-day seminar was organised by the B Borooah College Economics Department in collaboration with North Eastern Economic Association which ended today.

The experts were also of the opinion that the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) should tell the people everything about the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) in a transparent manner.

Moreover, they said there should be a liability clause to adequately compensate the victims of the dam-induced damages and to punish the officials responsible for such damages. On the top of these measures, they called for a reservoir management policy.

The experts included renowned water resources engineer Prof Nayan Sarma of the IIT, Roorkee, noted applied geologist Prof Sushil Goswami, former secretary of the State�s Water Resources Department Anup Kumar Mitra and power engineer Subodh Sarma. The panel discussion was moderated by Prof Madhurjya Prasad Bezbaruah, Professor and Head of the Department of Economics, Gauhati University.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Sarma suggested that the region should go for integrated water resources management projects. He also maintained that due to the high amount of silt load on most of the tributaries of the Brahmaputra, small dam projects are not sustainable here.

He asserted that dams could be built even in the seismically active areas. For such areas, he said, concrete gravity dams are suitable. But, the dams should be provided with Piano Key Wire structures in the dam crest for flood cushioning.

If overtopped by floodwater, he said, the rock-fill dams may breach. He hinted to the possibility of freak hydrological conditions resulting from the climate change phenomenon in this connection.

Prof Goswami said the NHPC authorities have undermined the risk factors involved in the LSHEP, particularly in matters of seismic vulnerability of the project site. Strain, caused by the northward movement of the Indian Plate, is building up in the NE region.

It is maintained by several seismologists that the NE region should be placed in a new seismic zone considering its high seismic sensitivity, said Prof Goswami.

Subodh Sarma laid stress on a reservoir management policy. This has become mandatory in view of the fact that the Government of India has abandoned its previous approach to use electricity for the benefit of the common people for the commercial approach that was incorporated in the Electricity Act, 2003, he said.

Anup Kumar Mitra also supported the view that the water resources management projects of the region should be designed as integrated ones. He advocated formation of a regional regulatory authority for regulating dam operations. Moreover, he said the development of NE region should be taken up with a different approach.

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Experts for multipurpose dam projects in NE

GUWAHATI, Feb 19 � Experts taking part at a panel discussion in a national seminar on socio-economic and institutional feasibility of utilisation of water resources in North East India here today were of the consensus that for optimal utilisation of the water resources of the region, only multipurpose dam projects should be taken up after appropriate study. The two-day seminar was organised by the B Borooah College Economics Department in collaboration with North Eastern Economic Association which ended today.

The experts were also of the opinion that the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) should tell the people everything about the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) in a transparent manner.

Moreover, they said there should be a liability clause to adequately compensate the victims of the dam-induced damages and to punish the officials responsible for such damages. On the top of these measures, they called for a reservoir management policy.

The experts included renowned water resources engineer Prof Nayan Sarma of the IIT, Roorkee, noted applied geologist Prof Sushil Goswami, former secretary of the State�s Water Resources Department Anup Kumar Mitra and power engineer Subodh Sarma. The panel discussion was moderated by Prof Madhurjya Prasad Bezbaruah, Professor and Head of the Department of Economics, Gauhati University.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Sarma suggested that the region should go for integrated water resources management projects. He also maintained that due to the high amount of silt load on most of the tributaries of the Brahmaputra, small dam projects are not sustainable here.

He asserted that dams could be built even in the seismically active areas. For such areas, he said, concrete gravity dams are suitable. But, the dams should be provided with Piano Key Wire structures in the dam crest for flood cushioning.

If overtopped by floodwater, he said, the rock-fill dams may breach. He hinted to the possibility of freak hydrological conditions resulting from the climate change phenomenon in this connection.

Prof Goswami said the NHPC authorities have undermined the risk factors involved in the LSHEP, particularly in matters of seismic vulnerability of the project site. Strain, caused by the northward movement of the Indian Plate, is building up in the NE region.

It is maintained by several seismologists that the NE region should be placed in a new seismic zone considering its high seismic sensitivity, said Prof Goswami.

Subodh Sarma laid stress on a reservoir management policy. This has become mandatory in view of the fact that the Government of India has abandoned its previous approach to use electricity for the benefit of the common people for the commercial approach that was incorporated in the Electricity Act, 2003, he said.

Anup Kumar Mitra also supported the view that the water resources management projects of the region should be designed as integrated ones. He advocated formation of a regional regulatory authority for regulating dam operations. Moreover, he said the development of NE region should be taken up with a different approach.