GUWAHATI, Oct 28 - The Kolkata-based Eastern Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), in its October 16, 2017 order, disposed of the original applications filed by Abhijeet Sarma of the Assam Public Works and Tularam Gogoi, former AASU leader and presently an advocate, and upheld the alternative proposal for the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) prepared by former IITian Dr Pradip Kumar Bhuyan.
The NGT Bench also held that the treatment meted out to the Brahmaputra Basin rivers should be at par with those of the Ganga Basin. The full text of the order is now available on the NGT website.
Abhijit Sarma argued that the project proposal prepared by Dr Bhuyan, if adopted, will result in a true run-of-the-river project.
As per the applicant, the proposal of Dr Bhuyan could be adapted in the present dam design without any substantial alteration except for some reduction in the height of the dam.
The project report was prepared by Dr Pradip Kumar Bhuyan and was endorsed by another expert Dr DN Buragohain, Emeritus Professor of the Gauhati University.
The proposal, however, was rejected by the respondent number 3, NHPC, as being illogical and without any basis. According to them, reduction in the height of dam will result in undoing the flood control mechanism designed at the present height and that valuable electricity would be lost as a consequence of the reduced height.
However, on a careful consideration of the matter, the NGT Bench found that the proposal is deserving of due regard and worth consideration and not a summary rejection which the respondent number 3 urged the NGT Bench to do, observed the NGT Bench.
�The proposal, which is also stated to have been prepared by experts, cannot just be brushed aside with the disdain and ridicule demonstrated by them in the affidavit. Intellectual arrogance in matters such as the one under consideration may lead to disastrous consequences.
�The Uttarakhand episode is still fresh in our memory. The repeated floods in Assam in the month of August this year and the one in Ranganadi a couple of months before that, which caused loss of hundreds of lives, both human and animal, and properties, are Mother Nature�s warning and the cataclysmic events only presented mere glimpse of her wrath, if we continue to tinker with her injudiciously,� maintained the NGT Bench.
It further said, �Keeping in view the principles of sustainable development and inter-generational equity, it would, in our opinion, be worthwhile to examine the proposal and consider its feasibility.�
On the issue of meting out equal treatment to the Ganga and the Brahmaputra Basin rivers, the NGT Bench observed, �We are inclined to agree with the Applicants� submission that the MOEF ought to apply the same philosophy and approach to the rivers Brahmaputra and the Subansiri as articulated in the affidavit filed by them with reference to the rivers Ganga and Yamuna in the Alakananda case before the Hon�ble Supreme Court.
�Considering the serious environmental issues raised in respect of the project and keeping the attendant sensitivity of the matter, in our view, it would be expedient for project proponent and the Government to be flexible in their approach and keep all options open so that the project can be taken forward in the national interest. We have noticed absolute rigidity and sustained efforts to get only one point of view accepted and that appears to us to be the reason for the project remaining in a limbo thus far.�