POC meet on Lower Subansiri dam not above suspicion, says engineer
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, February 21: Axom Jatiya Ga Sangram Parishad (AJGSP) adviser JN Khataniar, a consultancy engineer, has said that the Project Oversight Committee (POC) that was formed in the December 10 and 11, 2914 meeting at New Delhi last year over Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHP) is not above suspicion.
Talking to newsmen in Guwahati today, the engineer said: “Over the years since 2005, all issues pertaining to big dams had been discussed openly. How come they discuss issues pertaining to Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project secretly now? Is there anything fishy?”
On January 28 this year, the POC had a meeting at a Guwahati hotel on the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project. The meeting took a number of decisions like holding the second POC meeting at the dam sight on February 23 and 24, the next POC meeting to be a closed-door one involving only the POC members, and that the POC might consult any expert individual or organization of tiol/intertiol repute.
Khataniar said: “What’s the necessity of a closed-door meeting at the dam sight when all earlier meetings related to the dam were open discussion? There’s no expert on dam structure and earthquake expert among the four Assam experts. How can they face the Government of India’s experts on dam structure and earthquake related matters? This apart, the four Assam experts are at the liberty to consult any experts or organizations of tiol or intertiol repute on matters related to big dam. However, the four Assam experts have not consulted any experts as yet. I request the four Assam members to have a face-to-face discussion with me for appraisal of my points to them so that the points could be discussed elaborately at the next POC meeting.”
The four Assam experts are Prof. Jatin Kalita, Department of Zoology, Gauhati University; Prof. BP Duorah, Department of Geological Science, Gauhati University; Prof. Chandan Mahanta, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Guwahati and Prof. SP Biswas, Department of Life Science, Dibrugarh University.
Khataniar also laid stress on a few technical matters. “From 2005 to 2013 it has been recorded in ‘integrated Flood Moderation Study — NHPC’ and in many joint steering / study committee reports time to time as ‘in Subansiri basin integrated reservoir operation of Subansiri Lower, Subansiri Middle and Subansiri Upper projects shall be required for effective flood moderation in downstream part. I, therefore, questioned, in absence of 203-metre high Subansiri middle dam with provision of 15.00 m flood cushioning and 214 m high upper Dam with provision of 10.OO m flood cushioning, what will be the solution for controlling the excess rushing water during monsoons by the 116 m Suhansiri Lower Dam, under construction, having no provision of any flood cushioning?” Khataniar said, and added: “Why the dam-break alysis was not carried out before starting the works and even as on date as suggested by Dr. CD Thatta and Dr. MS Reddy till date?”
Khataniar further said that at the December 10 meeting at New Delhi last year, the Centre told the Assam side that the state would be provided 533MW power. “However, this assurance hasn’t been reflected in the minute of the meeting or any other agreements. This is just an oral campaign on the part of the Union Power Ministry to engineer support in favour of the dam,” the engineer said, and questioned: “How come Assam experts meet the NHPC experts as fixed on February 23 and 24 at Gerukamukh secretly? This behaviour on the part of the four Assam experts implies that they aren’t above suspicion.”