NEW DELHI, Sept 23 � Alarmed by the hue-and-cry over the 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Power Project (SLHEPP), Assam Government has delayed signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC).
According to highly placed sources, Government of Assam�s reluctance to sign the MoU has led the NHPC to move the Union Power Ministry, seeking its intervention in the matter. NHPC�s anxiety could be traced to escalating project cost to an estimated Rs 8155 crore from Rs 6285 crore.
The development comes at a time, when the Board of Directors of NHPC, recently decided to surrender two other vital hydropower projects including Subansiri Middle and Upper hydroelectric projects (HEP) in Arunachal Pradesh. The two projects are now likely to be handed over to joint venture companies selected by Arunachal Pradesh Government.
Sources said the 1,600 MW Subansiri Middle Hydroelectric Project is likely to be executed� by joint venture (JV) formed by Hydro Power Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Limited and Jindal Power Limited (JPL), while the 2,000 MW Subansiri Upper Hydroelectric Project may be taken over by KSK Energy Ventures Limited.
Meanwhile, Government of Assam seems to be playing safe, as it has been putting off signing of the MoU with NHPC for SLHEPP that is the centre of the controversy. Citing a report by an expert panel, All Assam Students Union (AASU) has been spearheading an agitation to scrap the project.
State Power Minister, Pradyut Bordoloi confirming that Government of Assam has refused to sign the MoU, strongly defended its action. He argued that though the original No Objection Certificate (NOC) given by the State Government stated that Assam would be entitled to six per cent free power NHPC has refused. No negotiation has taken place till now among the State Government, NHPC and Power Ministry, he claimed.
�Further we were promised 600 MW of power from the Project, whereas what we were actually allocated was 208 MW of Power, which is why we have not signed the MoU,� he argued.
�Moreover, the parameters drawn up by NHPC are not acceptable to Government of Assam. They are considering only the up stream affect, while we are interested in downstream impact and accordingly suggested that they should modify their parameters,� he added.
Meanwhile, sources said NHPC has assured the Power Ministry speedy execution of the recently commissioned downstream impact studies for the project.
Meanwhile, a frustrated NHPC has also sought Union Power Ministry�s help for repair of Ranganadi Bridge at National Highway 52 damaged by the floods. It desperately needs the bridge to transport equipments for the Project, sources said.