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Project executors seem to ignore Assam�s concerns

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 19 - Do the Assamese people not have any stake in the hydroelectric power plants coming up in Arunachal Pradesh, as they are not residents of that State and hence their pleas for cumulative impact studies of such projects have no locus standi?

This is what some of the executors of these projects have been trying to indicate.

One of these executors � NJC Hydropower Ltd, which has been executing the 780-MW Nyamjang Chhu Hydroelectric Project, has come up with such an indication in its affidavit submitted before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in response to the Appeal made by the Save Mon Region Federation (in Appeal No 39/2012; Save Mon Region Federation and Another Versus Union of India and Others).

In this respect, it needs mention here that during the environmental clearance process for the Nyamjang Chhu project, Akhil Gogoi of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) had written to the then Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in the early part of 2011, reminding him of the promises he had made during the Public Consultation on Northeast dams held on September 10, 2010, in Guwahati.

This included the Minister�s commitment that individual environmental clearances in the future would only be considered after having prior river basin studies, which would also examine cumulative downstream impacts. Based on this commitment, Gogoi had demanded a prior cumulative impact study of the projects on the Manas river basin (of which the Tawang is a sub-basin), before considering the 780-MW Nyamjang Chhu Project for environmental clearance.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) overruled this submission and did not commission either a Manas river basin study or a Tawang sub-basin study before considering the 780-MW Nyamjang Chhu Project for environmental clearance.

While this issue has been brought to the notice of the NGT by the Save Mon Region Federation in its Appeal, the NJC Hydropower Ltd has responded stating (on page 33):

�That the contents of this paragraph is a description of a representation by one Mr Akhil Gogoi of Assam, who is neither a resident nor an affected party nor a person proved to have any plausible stake in the project, regarding cumulative studies of the Manas river amongst other things, which merits no reply as it is a opinion of a non-expert on the subject on which there has been no statutory recognition so far��

It may be mentioned here that Nyamjang Chhu is a major tributary of the Tawang Chhu, which is a tributary of the Manas.

The case is listed for hearing on July 22, 2015. While the Save Mon Region Federation is represented by Advocate Ritwick Dutta, the NJC Hydropower Ltd is represented by Advocate Sanjay Upadhyay and Senior Advocate Raj Panjwani.

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Project executors seem to ignore Assam�s concerns

GUWAHATI, July 19 - Do the Assamese people not have any stake in the hydroelectric power plants coming up in Arunachal Pradesh, as they are not residents of that State and hence their pleas for cumulative impact studies of such projects have no locus standi?

This is what some of the executors of these projects have been trying to indicate.

One of these executors � NJC Hydropower Ltd, which has been executing the 780-MW Nyamjang Chhu Hydroelectric Project, has come up with such an indication in its affidavit submitted before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in response to the Appeal made by the Save Mon Region Federation (in Appeal No 39/2012; Save Mon Region Federation and Another Versus Union of India and Others).

In this respect, it needs mention here that during the environmental clearance process for the Nyamjang Chhu project, Akhil Gogoi of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) had written to the then Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in the early part of 2011, reminding him of the promises he had made during the Public Consultation on Northeast dams held on September 10, 2010, in Guwahati.

This included the Minister�s commitment that individual environmental clearances in the future would only be considered after having prior river basin studies, which would also examine cumulative downstream impacts. Based on this commitment, Gogoi had demanded a prior cumulative impact study of the projects on the Manas river basin (of which the Tawang is a sub-basin), before considering the 780-MW Nyamjang Chhu Project for environmental clearance.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) overruled this submission and did not commission either a Manas river basin study or a Tawang sub-basin study before considering the 780-MW Nyamjang Chhu Project for environmental clearance.

While this issue has been brought to the notice of the NGT by the Save Mon Region Federation in its Appeal, the NJC Hydropower Ltd has responded stating (on page 33):

�That the contents of this paragraph is a description of a representation by one Mr Akhil Gogoi of Assam, who is neither a resident nor an affected party nor a person proved to have any plausible stake in the project, regarding cumulative studies of the Manas river amongst other things, which merits no reply as it is a opinion of a non-expert on the subject on which there has been no statutory recognition so far��

It may be mentioned here that Nyamjang Chhu is a major tributary of the Tawang Chhu, which is a tributary of the Manas.

The case is listed for hearing on July 22, 2015. While the Save Mon Region Federation is represented by Advocate Ritwick Dutta, the NJC Hydropower Ltd is represented by Advocate Sanjay Upadhyay and Senior Advocate Raj Panjwani.