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Modi�s intervention sought in Subansiri

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 6 � City-based consultant engineer JN Khataniar has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene into the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) issue.

The consultant engineer complained before the Prime Minister that the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), the Central government agency executing the LSHEP, had arbitrarily changed the dam type from a rock-fill one to a 116-metre-high concrete gravity one. The depth of the foundation of the dam is 9 metres below the riverbed.

Khataniar said in his memorandum to the Prime Minister that the NHPC has reduced the required depth of the foundation by 8 metres despite the heavy load-bearing hard rock existing at 17 metres from the riverbed as was found by the Brahmaputra Board.

Khataniar also referred to the presentation made by Dr DK Paul of the IIT Roorkee at Guwahati on October 8, 2010 on the topic � �Seismic Safety of large Dams�. Dr Paul described the rock-fill dams as highly earthquake-resistant. Many rock-fill dams have been constructed in high seismic areas. Many of them have withstood large earthquakes without significant damages. No rock-fill dam designed and constructed on the basis of modern technology has ever failed under the impact of earthquakes, asserted Dr Paul.

Moreover, contrary to the recommendations of the Brahmaputra Board, the NHPC constructed an overground power house, Khataniar alleged.

The expert committee constituted as a result of the tripartite discussion held among the Assam government, NHPC and the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) in its first report on February 10, 2009, had advised NHPC not to continue with the construction activities due to many reasons related with the project planning and designing aspects as well as earthquake safety.

But the NHPC did not attach much importance to the experts� opinions and the apprehension of the people concerning the dam. Finally, all construction activities in the project site came to a grinding halt since December, 2011 in the face of public resistance, said Khataniar.

He referred to the office memorandum of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) (File No. 2/NHPC/26/01-PAC/207-34 dated 13th January 2003). This office memorandum slapped a special condition of integrated flood studies, including reservoir operation in respect of the Upper, Middle and Lower Subansiri projects in consultation with the Brahmaputra Board and the Central Water Commission, before starting execution of the LSHEP.

But in reply to an RTI application, the Brahmaputra Board authorities told Khataniar that there is no record with the Board on the integrated flood studies, including reservoir operation of the LSHEP, initiated by the NHPC before taking up execution of the project.

Besides, a correspondence made by the NHPC with Khataniar stated that the LSHEP has no flood moderation capacity. To moderate flood in the Subansiri River, all the three � Upper, Middle and Lower Subansiri � projects are to be executed. Khataniar also referred to the report of the Dr CD Thatte and Dr MS Reddy Committee on the LSHEP.

Khataniar yesterday had a discussion with Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power Devendra Choudhry and NHPC Director Technical DP Bhargava in presence of Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at the Minister�s New Delhi SAI Complex office chamber on the LSHEP.

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