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NITI Aayog agrees to promote small hydro projects in Aruchal

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT

Itagar, June 8: Giving a fillip to the Aruchal government’s plan to develop small hydropower projects to provide electricity to the people on priority basis, the NITI Aayog has agreed that projects up to 100 MW could soon be promoted and taken up as small hydropower projects under Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

Aayog’s CEO Amitabh Kant disclosed this during a meeting with Chief Minister Kalikho Pul in New delhi yesterday, an official communiqué informed here today.

Pul had sought the support of the planning body to help develop state’s untapped hydropower potential in realizing the Prime Minister’s vision of 24×7 power for all by 2022.

To boost development of small hydropower in the state, Pul advocated that the process of obtaining various clearances for the projects must be expedited and even made into a single window clearance system.

Pointing out on the impact of basin studies on the viability of small projects on river tributaries, he observed that such studies resulted in the delay in implementation of the projects despite clearances obtained from CEA and MoEF & CC.

“We have to be practical in our approach and we must strike a balance between the demands of environmental concerns and obligations of development”, he said.  

Pul reiterated that the projects proposed to be dropped as an outcome of Basin Study should be avoided as it may generate ill will and hamper future projects. He quoted an example from Lohit basin area, where all surveys stand completed, though projects are yet to take off for basin studies.

Kant assured to follow up on the requests made by the chief minister and informed that a decision on this would be arrived at soon.

The CEO agreed to have a follow up meeting on June 15 next to carry forward the agenda, with the state Power Department, MNRE, Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Power as well as the Ministry of environment and forest.

The chief minister suggested various measures to revamp the hydropower sector. He sought cooperation and engagement of people of both Assam and Aruchal to make the Subansiri project operatiol in couple of years, which he felt that it would have a demonstrative effect on other projects too.

Regarding the Subansiri project, Pul said that it was important to take the people of Assam into confidence. The project has a lot of scope for irrigation, for providing drinking water as well as for flood mitigation.

“We have to protect the interests of Assam too in these projects. And that can only be done through cooperation and consultations”, he added.

The state government would identify two early maturity projects, which could be commissioned within next two to three years that would have a demonstrative effect on other projects, Pul added.