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Towards sustaible hydropower Development in Aruchal, Northeast India - Part III

Sentinel Digital Desk


7. Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric Project:

The work on Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric Project is suspended since Dec, 2012 due to people's protest on various aspects of the Dam. Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric Project (SLHEP) can be converted into a 24x7 true RoR project, by utilizing the Power House and the Intake to Power House which are already constructed. This is eminently feasible because the level of construction of the dam is still at a low level – 70 m of the dam is yet to be constructed. This conversion will resolve the present impasse over construction of the dam.

8. Flood Control and Dams of Aruchal

The Brahmaputra Board planned to construct at the present site of Gerukamukh where the Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric Project (SLHEP) is under construction, a 257m high dam with a storage of 14,000 million cubic meter and a flood storage of 2700 million cubic meter. But the plan had to be scrapped for various reasons to

be replaced by 3 cascading Hydro Power dams – Subansiri Upper Project (SUP), Subansiri Middle Project (SMP) and Subansiri Lower Project (SLP). At any rate Subansiri constitutes only 10-12% of Brahmaputra's flow.

As big storage dams are not in the reckoning, no such dam can be built over Siang, Dibang, Lohit, the constituents of Brahmaputra and as such one has to accept the fact that Brahmaputra flood cannot be controlled by dams in Aruchal.

Flood and erosion problem of Assam has to be tackled through nonstructural scientific measures with a new vision and should be declared as a tiol problem for an effective solution and implementation.

9. PEOPLE'S PROTEST – Inevitable if proposed dams of Aruchal are not scrapped to be replaced by sustaible smaller dams.

When the 408 MW Rangadi Hydro Electric Project of NEEPCO, in a sub basin of Subansiri itself, was under construction there was no public protest for construction of the dam. People welcomed the project. Only after commissioning of the project in 2002, when people witnessed the consequences of the project, – the river turned into a sandy desert in the winter, and devastating floods swept the area in monsoon due to sudden release of the sluice gates, did the people realize how these dams affected the riparian people.

Opposition to Subansiri Dam was triggered by the realty check of Rangadi Hydro Electric Project when people witnessed first-hand what happens to them from these hydro power dams. (In Rangadi the tailrace water was even diverted to a separate basin)!

Had the intentions of Rangadi Hydro Power Project was sustaible (just), today a sustaible Subansiri Project would have been completed long back! Probably many dams of Aruchal would have been completed by now.

10. Awareness of people :

For MoEFCC and private Developers, transparency is athema. They do not divulge to people vital aspects of a project that directly affect the riparian people – like water flow downstream of the dam etc.

People are confused. They are protesting against big dams but are uware of other vital aspects of these dams to make considered choices. They are uware about 24x7 sustaible hydro power projects.

The undersigned organizations, will visit every village, town and will educate people on various aspects of these projects in Aruchal, so that the issue of development is brought to the forefront,

- that we want development,

- that we want power in a sustaible way,

- that present dams will destroy us and must be opposed at

any cost.

People must realize that the consequences of the present 4 hour dams of Aruchal will manifest suddenly only when these dams are commissioned after 10 – 15 years and their horrific consequences are then irreversible.

Major protests are inevitable unless these proposed dams of Aruchal are not scrapped, to be replaced by 24x7 sustaible dams. It also will be a travesty of justice, if the norms for Uttarakhand dams of Aviral Dhara, longitudil connectivity, cumulative impact assessment survey of the basins etc. as being envisaged now, are not incorporated for Aruchal Dams. tural flow of the rivers is sacrosanct for Aruchal rivers of North East India.

11. MoEFCC need to shed past legacies :

MoEFCC need to come out of its destructive policies of the past, like environmental impact assessment for only 10 km downstream of a dam, non release of water for 20 hours from a dam, sanctioning Environmental Clearances (ECs) for projects that sends the river through pipes/ tunnels for kilometres, no Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment etc. for hydro projects, which are legacies of the past Governments.

In Uttarakhand, the process of a new beginning is taking shape. The NDA Govt. needs to usher in a transparent Environmental Policy for Hydro Power Projects which balances environment, people and development in a sustaible way.

12. An urgent Review

In the above context, especially, in view of the revelation by MoEFCC about the direct impact of the 4 hr. generation dams on ecology and people, we pray for an immediate and urgent comprehensive 'review' of the dams of Aruchal so that

(a) All the proposed 150 plus dams of Aruchal are scrapped immediately

(b) A basin wise cumulative impact assessment by an interdiscipliry expert group is carried out in the four valleys, - Lohit, Dibang, Siang, Subansiri (as is now advocated by MoEFCC for Uttarakhand in its Affidavit to the Supreme Court) so that sites for the sustaible dams and other parameters can be fixed scientifically.

(c) True Run of the River Hydro Electric Projects with tural flow of the river unhindered through the dams, must be constructed in Aruchal Pradesh to take care of the energy needs of the North East India fully and the needs of the country.

(d) The Chinese must be told directly by the GOI and through the Intertiol Community that at no point of time ever, any scheme to divert any water from Yarlung Sangpo can be constructed by the Chinese including big reservoir dams. They can only construct true Run of the River (RoR) sustaible Hydro Electric Projects where the river flow is not obstructed. (unlike our present format of dams in Aruchal)


A notification regarding "review" of the dams of Aruchal will allay people's fears and will be a great step forward towards a Transparent Environmental Policy for Hydro Power Projects which balances environment, people and development. It will truly be a GREEN feather in Govt's. cap as an environmental catastrophe of global magnitude will be averted.

The conversion of the present destructive dams of Aruchal to true sustaible Run of the River (RoR) dams, will make our Ho'ble Prime Minister's vision of sustaible development a reality, as articulated by him during an election speech in Pasighat, Aruchal Pradesh on 22nd Feb 2014.

Sincerely Yours,

Sigtories of the following organizations :

1. All Assam Mottock Yuba Chatra Parisad

2. All Assam Sonowal Kachari Chatra Santha

3. All Assam Brihotter Asomiya Yuva Manch

4. Asom Yuva Parisad

5. Hindu Yuva Chtra Parisad

6. Pathar Krishak Shramik Unyan Parishad

7. Kolakhowa Mising Dolang Bane Kabeng Mahasava

8. Bhujpuri Yuva Chatra Parisad

9. All Assam Kaibortta Yuva Chtra Parisad

10. Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Sanmilan

11. All Assam Koch Chatra Santha

12. All Assam Anusuchita Jati Yuva Chatra Santha

13. All Assam Sanmileeta Maha Sangha

Copy to :

1. Hon'ble Governor of Assam, galand

2. Hon'ble M.O.S. (Ind), Power, Govt. of India

3. Hon'ble M.O.S. (Ind), Environment etc,, Govt. of India

4. Hon'ble M.O.S. (Ind), Water Resource, Govt. of India

5. Hon'ble M.O.S. (Ind), Development of North Eastern Region, Govt. of India

6. Hon'ble M.O.S. (Ind), Youth Affairs & Sports, Govt. of India

7. Hon'ble M.O.S. (Ind), Home Affairs, Govt. of India

8. Hon'ble Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister, Assam

9. Hon'ble Chief Minister, Aruchal Pradesh

Annexures :

(i) Photos of true RoR Dams – Zangmu (Tibet),

Salal, Uri of J & K

(ii) Map showing meeting of Constituent Rivers of Brahmaputra at Dibrusaikhowa tiol Park. (Concluded)

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