‘Will sort out problems of Subansiri Hydro Electric Project’

Dollongmukh (Aruchal Pradesh), Feb 12: The Aruchal Pradesh government will soon work to sort out the problems that have stalled implementation of the 2,000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric Project, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Sunday. Khandu, who visited the project site with tiol Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) officials, said he will have talks with Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal and his Assam counterpart Sarbanda Sonowal for an early solution.

The mega power project was forced to suspend its construction activities in December 2011, following protests from few stakeholders and as pressure groups launched a series of agitations, demanding a halt till a comprehensive cumulative impact study was carried out. The project with its initial cost estimate at Rs 6,285 crore began its construction in 2005. However, due to the delay, the revised cost estimate has jumped to Rs 17,435 crore as of today.

“Finding a solution to the Subansiri Lower dam is highly important as the state government is losing to the tune of Rs 1.20 crore, an amount that could have been accrued from the 12 per cent free power share,” said Khandu, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Chow Mein, Industries Minister Tamiyo Taga, Health Minister Jomde Ke, PHED Minister Bamang Felix, Transport and Supply Parliamentary Secretary Likha Saaya among others.

Khandu also visited the water intake site, followed by a 1.5 km drive inside the surge tunnel. The team also made a brief halt inside the tunnel where the NHPC officials briefed them about the layout of the 8 surge tunnels. Promising the NHPC officials to sort out the problems, the Chief Minister, however, stressed that all the concerns and matters that are proving as stumbling block to the project, needs urgent attention and addressed immediately.

“NHPC’s Subansiri Lower Dam is of importance not only at the local level, but to the state and the country. Had the dam been commissioned on time, the state could have reaped the benefits in terms of employment, contractual works and tourism promotion. “No Chief Minister in Aruchal Pradesh can take the state ahead, if hydropower potential of the state is not optimally used,” he said. Explaining to the visiting delegates about the project status and its implementation of the mega power project, Executive Director of Subansiri HEP project, Rakesh said that till date, 55 per cent of works have been completed and the construction works are at standstill with only routine preservation and maintence works being carried out.  “Due to the halt in the construction activities, the company is losing Rs 10 crore every day, being incurred in maintence works and other activities. Till date, the project has incurred Rs 9,000 crore expenditure,” the official said. (IANS)