SHILLONG, Feb 17 � The Union government�s failure to clear the �doubts� from the minds of the people has resulted in poor utilisation of the estimated 90,000 MW of hydro electric power potential in the north-eastern region, North Eastern Council Member MP Bezbaruah said today.
�We have not been able to go ahead in utilisation (of the hydro-electric potential) primarily because we have not been able to address the doubts in the minds of the people,� Bezbaruah said while addressing a workshop on �Integrated Water Resources Management� organised by the Tezpur-based North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management here.
Stating that there is tremendous economic potential in hydel projects, Barua said the government has only used about 11 per cent of the 90,000 MW hydro electric potential estimated in the entire region.
�The saddest part is that we have not been able to go ahead in utilisation primarily because we have not been able to take care of the doubts in the minds of the people,� he said.
Arguing that some of these doubts could be �manipulated and political� in nature, the NEC Member said, �But a large section of people, even the professionals, feels that many of the projects we are planning for the benefit of the present and future generation, are not really going to be beneficial. Rather they would have adverse impact on our culture, way of living and also on the environment.�
He also called for early resolution of these doubts in a �more professional, technical and scientific� way by getting credible opinions to remove them from the minds of the people.
The NEC Member said that Assam, Meghalaya and all north-eastern States have very low utilisation of available ground water due to lack of convergence between agencies that are involved in managing water resources.
�Hardly any State is self-sufficient, except for Assam, which said they are self-sufficient in production but productivity is low and cropping pattern is only single crop. Here is when we see how insufficiently we use our water,� he said.
The NEC Member also cited another statistical record to show that ground water potential use is very low at 4.3 per cent against the 32 at the national level. �These are statistics but they go all the way in putting how utilisation of ground water potential use is insufficient. Here is when proper planning becomes very crucial,� he said. � PTI