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Meet on NE mega dams put on hold

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Oct 15 � The much-hyped meeting on hydro-power projects of the North-east is unlikely to take place anytime soon and all indications suggest that it may have been shelved.

The meeting scheduled to be held on October 18, now stands deferred, with no official word about its fate, even as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu is scheduled to meet Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh on October 19.

It has been learnt that a Group of Ministers (GoM) may now be constituted to look into the issue that has inter-ministerial and inter-State ramifications, besides international ramifications.

An indication of the Centre�s dilemma could be gauged from sealed lips of the officials. Jairam Ramesh, talking to newsmen, feigned ignorance about any meeting being convened by the Prime Minister on October 18. �I don�t know

if any meeting is scheduled,� he said.

The inter-ministerial meeting has been postponed thrice until now following a spate of exchanges between the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Jairam Ramesh and Union Power Minister SK Shinde.

An upset Khandu has dashed off a protest note to the Prime Minister with a copy to the Minister of State for Environment and Forest, protesting the suggestion to clamp a moratorium on construction of new hydro-power projects and review of the 135 projects already sanctioned, until environment and downstream impact studies are conducted.

The Minister of State for Environment and Forest confirmed though that the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh has sought and appointment with him. �He is meeting me on Tuesday,� he informed.

Highly placed sources said the issue may now figure at the conference of Power Ministers slated to be held on October 26-27. But the Prime Minister is not likely to be present at the meeting because he is going abroad on a three-nation tour on October 23.

Sources suggested that the contentious issue of hydro power projects may now be handed over to a GoM by the Prime Minister, in an apparent move to defuse the escalating tension and amicably resolve the differences.

The Power Ministry is also upset with the Environment Ministry over stalling of over 40 power projects, including both hydro and thermal plants.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who is also scheduled to meet Jairam Ramesh today, did not meet any minister and mostly spend his time meeting visitors at home.

The Chief Minister had yesterday told this newspaper that he favoured constitution of an expert committee to study the issue and suggest measures, though he clarified that he is not against dams.

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Meet on NE mega dams put on hold

NEW DELHI, Oct 15 � The much-hyped meeting on hydro-power projects of the North-east is unlikely to take place anytime soon and all indications suggest that it may have been shelved.

The meeting scheduled to be held on October 18, now stands deferred, with no official word about its fate, even as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu is scheduled to meet Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh on October 19.

It has been learnt that a Group of Ministers (GoM) may now be constituted to look into the issue that has inter-ministerial and inter-State ramifications, besides international ramifications.

An indication of the Centre�s dilemma could be gauged from sealed lips of the officials. Jairam Ramesh, talking to newsmen, feigned ignorance about any meeting being convened by the Prime Minister on October 18. �I don�t know

if any meeting is scheduled,� he said.

The inter-ministerial meeting has been postponed thrice until now following a spate of exchanges between the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Jairam Ramesh and Union Power Minister SK Shinde.

An upset Khandu has dashed off a protest note to the Prime Minister with a copy to the Minister of State for Environment and Forest, protesting the suggestion to clamp a moratorium on construction of new hydro-power projects and review of the 135 projects already sanctioned, until environment and downstream impact studies are conducted.

The Minister of State for Environment and Forest confirmed though that the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh has sought and appointment with him. �He is meeting me on Tuesday,� he informed.

Highly placed sources said the issue may now figure at the conference of Power Ministers slated to be held on October 26-27. But the Prime Minister is not likely to be present at the meeting because he is going abroad on a three-nation tour on October 23.

Sources suggested that the contentious issue of hydro power projects may now be handed over to a GoM by the Prime Minister, in an apparent move to defuse the escalating tension and amicably resolve the differences.

The Power Ministry is also upset with the Environment Ministry over stalling of over 40 power projects, including both hydro and thermal plants.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who is also scheduled to meet Jairam Ramesh today, did not meet any minister and mostly spend his time meeting visitors at home.

The Chief Minister had yesterday told this newspaper that he favoured constitution of an expert committee to study the issue and suggest measures, though he clarified that he is not against dams.