GUWAHATI, July 13 � The Assam government has chalked out a Rs 1,100-crore project to take up schemes in the downstream of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric project to mitigate the losses in case of any eventuality in the project. This was disclosed by Minister of State for Water Resources Rajiv Lochan Pegu in the Assam Assembly today.
Replying to a Zero Hour motion by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta (AGP), the minister said that the Water Resources Department has started the process of preparing a detailed project report for the same and that would include construction of embankments, anti-erosion measures, etc. He said that the government would have to be ready to face any eventuality like dam breach and the NHPC has also been asked to take all the precautionary measures in this regard.
Pegu said that various organizations have already conducted detailed study of the Subansiri project and the IIT, Roorkee also conducted a study on the seismic designs. The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh also formed a committee of experts to study the project.
The minister said that the study of the Subansiri project was carried out by the Brahmaputra Board way back in 1983 and the NHPC was entrusted with the responsibility of executing the project in 2000, while the State government gave its no objection certificate in 2002. But no organization opposed the project all those years and movements against the project started only in 2009. He also said that silt deposition in the Subansiri River would be reduced after the construction of the project.
Pegu expressed the view that the people living in the downstream areas of Kopili and Ranganadi projects of the NEEPCO and Kurishu project of Bhutan were suffering because proper study on the possible downstream effects of the projects were not carried out. But this will not be the case with the Subansiri project, he assured.
The minister further said that the State government has been pressing the Centre for setting up of the North East Water Resources Authority and the Prime Minister has also assured to set up such a body to deal with the problems of flood and erosion.
Interestingly, the Water Resources Minister said that Assam invited trouble with construction of embankments in 1957, which restricted the flow of the rivers, while de-forestation in the neighbouring states resulted in silt deposition on the river beds and reduced the water carrying capacity of all major rivers.
Earlier, raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Mahanta demanded construction of all mega dams should be stopped immediately as those would spell doom for Assam. He said that Kopili, Ranganadi and Kurishu projects already taught the lessons as the people living in the downstream of the projects have been suffering badly for years and the condition of the people living in the downstream of the Subansiri project would be the same.
Mahanta said that the Government of India stopped two projects on Ganga River because of environmental projects and there is no reason why one project in North-east cannot be stopped.