GUWAHATI, May 11 � The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Union Ministry of Power, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, governments of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and the Brahmaputra Board to set up a proposal for scientific study of the comprehensive cumulative environmental impact concerning the hydroelectric projects being set up in Arunachal Pradesh. The study should be conducted in terms of the effect of these hydroelectric projects on the downstream areas on water sources, biodiversity and socio-ecology of the people, said the NGT in its May 7 order.
Disclosing this, senior citizen Pradip Kumar Bhuyan and wildlife photographer Joydeep Bhuyan said in a press release that the NGT directive came in the wake of their petition filed before the tribunal on April 30 last.
The petitioners argued that the Brahmaputra is central to all those hydroelectric projects coming up in Arunachal Pradesh and a flowing Brahmaputra is sacrosanct for the people of the NE region. The proposed over 135 hydroelectric projects in Arunachal Pradesh are having four-hour-peaking generation type dams, which hold up water for 20 hours or so in a day in lean months and create tsunami in four hours or so when all turbines are operational.
They contended that this process will devastate the valleys of Arunachal Pradesh, the Brahmaputra and also the river island Majuli, Kaziranga National Park once the dams are commissioned 15 to 20 years hence.
They prayed for a cumulative impact assessment (CIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for all the dams of Arunachal Pradesh and advocated 24�7 true run-of-the-river sustainable dams, where the river flows either through the turbines next to the dams and, or over the dam without any adverse downstream impact on ecology, environment and the riparian people, despite generating sustainable level of power for development.
The petitioners pointed to the 2013 Uttarakhand cloudburst and the April 25, 2015 Nepal earthquake and prayed for taking up the issues concerning the hydel projects for proper scrutiny before another Himalayan disaster occurs. Noted environmental lawyer Sanjay Upadhyay and advocate Vikram Rajkhowa appeared for the petitioners.