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State firm on safety issues

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 29 � The State Government is in no way going to surrender the issue of safety of the State and its people as far as the mega hydel power projects are concerned. The Power Department has asked the NHPC Ltd to engage even the foreign firms of international repute to study the location and impacts, etc, of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP). This is in addition to the suggestion made by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to the Central Government to constitute a technical team to go into the technical matters of the project.

The Chief Minister in his October 18 letter to the Prime Minister on the subject, suggested formation of the said technical team comprising internationally acclaimed seismologists and experts on the subject, including some of the members of the expert group that examined the technical parameters of the LSHEP dam. The Power Department named, about a week back, the Moscow-based Hydro Project Institute and the Swiss AF Colenco Ltd to be engaged for the purpose.

Making the above disclosures, State�s Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told newspersons at a press conference here today that the State Government wants the Government of India and the NHPC authorities to initiate scientific studies for removing all the doubts on the safety and adverse impacts of the LSHEP and other such hydel projects proposed in the NE region.

He asserted that though the State Government has a progressive approach towards generating more power to meet the growing power demand of the State and the region in the coming days, it is not at all going to surrender the issue of safety of the State and its people.

Therefore, it has taken the view of the expert group that went through the technical issues related with the LSHEP seriously and taken them up with the Central Government. This is why the Chief Minister wrote the above letter to the Central Government.

In the same letter, the Chief Minister also suggested that the Central Water Commission (CWC) should immediately start a comprehensive and cumulative study on the Subansiri, Lohit and Siang Basins.

The Central government should also determine the cumulative effects on the downstream areas of the 150 hydel power projects proposed to be set up in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra, suggested the Chief Minister in his October 18 letter, Bordoloi said.

However, when asked to comment on the demand for keeping in abeyance the construction works of the LSHEP until the studies on its dam sites and down stream impacts are completed, he said that the NHPC works have been greatly affected by the present agitations. Moreover, the NHPC authorities have informed the State Government that they could achieve only 30 per cent progress in construction of the dam of the project.

Besides, he said, the State Government is yet to sign an MoU with the NHPC for the project.

On Opposition: On the other hand, he said, some of those opposing the mega hydel power projects are resorting to exaggerations on the negative impacts of such projects. The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been resorting to hypocracy with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections, he added.

The AGP had been demanding such mega-dam projects since its inception and when it was in State�s power for two terms, it continued mounting pressure on the Central Government for such projects. It pleaded for speedy completion of the Ranganadi Hydel Project in 1997 and led an all-party delegation to New Delhi to press the Central Government for implementation of all the mega-dam projects proposed by the Brahmaputra Board.

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State firm on safety issues

GUWAHATI, Oct 29 � The State Government is in no way going to surrender the issue of safety of the State and its people as far as the mega hydel power projects are concerned. The Power Department has asked the NHPC Ltd to engage even the foreign firms of international repute to study the location and impacts, etc, of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP). This is in addition to the suggestion made by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to the Central Government to constitute a technical team to go into the technical matters of the project.

The Chief Minister in his October 18 letter to the Prime Minister on the subject, suggested formation of the said technical team comprising internationally acclaimed seismologists and experts on the subject, including some of the members of the expert group that examined the technical parameters of the LSHEP dam. The Power Department named, about a week back, the Moscow-based Hydro Project Institute and the Swiss AF Colenco Ltd to be engaged for the purpose.

Making the above disclosures, State�s Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told newspersons at a press conference here today that the State Government wants the Government of India and the NHPC authorities to initiate scientific studies for removing all the doubts on the safety and adverse impacts of the LSHEP and other such hydel projects proposed in the NE region.

He asserted that though the State Government has a progressive approach towards generating more power to meet the growing power demand of the State and the region in the coming days, it is not at all going to surrender the issue of safety of the State and its people.

Therefore, it has taken the view of the expert group that went through the technical issues related with the LSHEP seriously and taken them up with the Central Government. This is why the Chief Minister wrote the above letter to the Central Government.

In the same letter, the Chief Minister also suggested that the Central Water Commission (CWC) should immediately start a comprehensive and cumulative study on the Subansiri, Lohit and Siang Basins.

The Central government should also determine the cumulative effects on the downstream areas of the 150 hydel power projects proposed to be set up in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra, suggested the Chief Minister in his October 18 letter, Bordoloi said.

However, when asked to comment on the demand for keeping in abeyance the construction works of the LSHEP until the studies on its dam sites and down stream impacts are completed, he said that the NHPC works have been greatly affected by the present agitations. Moreover, the NHPC authorities have informed the State Government that they could achieve only 30 per cent progress in construction of the dam of the project.

Besides, he said, the State Government is yet to sign an MoU with the NHPC for the project.

On Opposition: On the other hand, he said, some of those opposing the mega hydel power projects are resorting to exaggerations on the negative impacts of such projects. The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been resorting to hypocracy with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections, he added.

The AGP had been demanding such mega-dam projects since its inception and when it was in State�s power for two terms, it continued mounting pressure on the Central Government for such projects. It pleaded for speedy completion of the Ranganadi Hydel Project in 1997 and led an all-party delegation to New Delhi to press the Central Government for implementation of all the mega-dam projects proposed by the Brahmaputra Board.

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