NEW DELHI, Jan 6 � Oblivious of the hue and cry over sanction of hydro power projects in Arunachal Pradesh, the Prime Minister�s Office (PMO) has sought an explanation from the Ministry of Environment and Forest questioning the delay in environment clearance of the projects.
Highly placed sources said the PMO has issued two reminders to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) over the delay in environment clearances of the hydro power projects in Arunachal Pradesh, and also sought reasons for the delay in clearance of the projects.
The reminder by the PMO may have come because of the protest lodged by Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu protesting the delay in clearances.
Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh, denying any differences between the MoEF and Arunachal Pradesh Government, had admitted that a communication was received from the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh expressing the need to harness hydro power potential in the State.
Khandu had pleaded for expeditious clearances to hydro power projects for larger interest of the nation and not to hold up the environmental clearance of individual projects for want of basin-wise studies.
Projects are considered for environment clearance according to the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, Ramesh had said.
Following the controversy over hydro power projects, the MoEF has assured to conduct the environment impact assessment study. Ramesh had visited Guwahati last September and met activists, NGO and agitators in a stock-taking exercise.
The Ministry had started the dialogue process with all stake holders, including the expert panel, to have a relook at the clearance given to Subansiri hydro power project. An eight-member expert committee, constituted jointly by the Department of Power, Assam, NHPC and All Assam Students� Union (AASU), found �gross inadequacy� in the design of the mega dam, as well as its construction.
The panel also recommended that the entire project was �redesigned� with sufficient reduction in dam height and production (power generation) capacity to minimise adverse economic (livelihood) and environmental impacts.
Arunachal Pradesh has allotted 78 projects for hydropower development in Brahmaputra Basin with a capacity of 33,382 MW in all the sub-basins of the State, in addition to three projects with 2710 MW under development.