Dam impact study on park
Guwahati, Sept. 19: The Union ministry of environment and forests has asked Jaypee Group to include the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Assam for the downstream impact study of the 2,700-MW Lower Siang hydroelectric dam.
The Lower Siang project has been allocated to Jaypee Group by the Arunachal Pradesh government on build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis for 40 years after its commissioning.
The issue was discussed at the 40th meeting of expert appraisal committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects of the ministry of environment and forests last month in New Delhi.
Sources said the committee had received a representation from the project proponent of Jaypee Group wherein they requested to drop the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Tinsukia and Jamjing and Sengajan reserve forest in Dhemaji from the downstream impact study as these are located downstream of the confluence of river Siang with the Brahmaputra.
The hydroelectric project, near Bodak, 23km from Pasighat, the headquarters of East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, is at a distance of 55km from Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
“The impact of the Lower Siang dam on the hydrology of the Brahmaputra was discussed in the meeting and it was consciously felt that the river is influenced by significant contribution from Lohit and Dibang rivers. The operational pattern of dams on Lohit and Dibang may influence the flow in the Brahmaputra, particularly in the downstream Dibru-Saikhowa National Park,” one of the sources said.
The ministry, however, agreed to the request of the company to exclude Jamjing and Sengajan reserve forest from the downstream impact study, as it is 100km downstream and will have insignificant impact on the project.
Environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh had recently said comprehensive and cumulative environment impact assessment, comprehensive river basin studies and comprehensive bio-diversity assessment should be carried out for any project to be cleared.
The committee had received a large number of representations from various organisations which said the downstream impact has not being studied for the site specific case of the Brahmaputra and the technical evaluation committee of Central Electricity Authority has not considered the environmental sensitivity of this project.
The organisations in their representation had said the project would seriously impact Daying Ering wildlife sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, which is also an Important Bird Area, affecting its seasonal breeding area.
The committee said the study should also incorporate and describe change in flood character in the downstream area during construction and operation.
, including when sediment is released from the dam on annual or whatever basis, impact of sediment trapped behind the dam on the downstream ecology and geomorphology of Siang.
The Environmental Impact Assessment report for the project has said the project activities would have direct impact on nearly 6,424-hectare land, which is proposed for the acquisition for various project components like submergence, road construction, dam structure, labour camps, colonies and others.
The proposed dam would inundate an area of 51.51 square km alongside Siang, Siyom and Yamne rivers in Arunachal Pradesh.