NEW DELHI, May 8 � The raging debate over viability of mega dams in the seismologically sensitive North-east notwithstanding, the Centre has clarified that no conclusive study on non-suitability of construction of large dams in Brahmaputra region has come to the notice.
Altogether 165 power projects were granted environmental clearance and 143 power projects were granted forest clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests during the past three years.
In a Rajya Sabha reply to a question by Kumar Deepak Das, the Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Jayanti Natarajan said that dams are designed taking into consideration the geological features and seismicity of the area accordance with the codal provisions of Bureau of Indian Standards.
Construction of large dams for production of power is permitted after detailed and thorough investigations and review by various organisations like Planning Commission, Central Water Commission (CWC), Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Ministry of Environment and Forests, Natarajan added. Site-specific seismic parameters to be adopted for design of a dam are approved by the Dam Safety Organisations (DSO) of CWC, the minister added.
Technical concurrence of CEA is also required for setting up of large hydro power projects. Environmental and forest clearance are accorded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests after thorough appraisal by the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) constituted under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) under Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Natarajan said.
About the anti-dam agitations in Assam, the Minister confirmed that representations against construction of some hydro power projects in North-east have been received by the government. They relate to safety of dams and downstream impacts, she added.
At least two hydroelectric power projects in Arunachal Pradesh were accorded environmental clearance in 2010. They include 130 MW Gongri Hydroelectric Project in West Kameng district and 1750 MW Demwe Lower Hydroelectric Power Project in Lohit district. The two power project is executed by Dirang Energy Private Limited and Athena Energy Ventures Private Limited.
Last year five power projects in Arunachal Pradesh were given environmental clearance. The projects are 96 MW Nafra, 66 MW Kuitam both in West Kameng, 600 MW Tawang Stage I, 800 MW Tawang Stage II, and 700 MW Tato-II in West Siang district.