NHPC firm on design- Official allays fears on Subansiri dam safety
|Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi in a meeting with CMD, NHPC, S.K. Garg, in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by Eastern Projections|
Guwahati, Sept. 18: The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation has made it clear that with just two years left for commissioning of the first three units of the 2000MW Subansiri lower hydroelectric project, there’s no room for any structural changes to the dam — a move recommended by an expert committee.
“It will not be practically feasible to redesign the dam project which is now just two years away from commissioning,” NHPC CMD S.K. Garg told The Telegraph yesterday.
Garg visited the project site at Gerukamukh today and interacted with project officials and residents.
He said the NHPC would examine and act upon the other recommendations of the expert committee.
An eight-member expert committee, comprising scholars from Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University and IIT Guwahati, had recommended a thorough review and redesign of the 115-metre high dam.
The NHPC team discussed various issues with the expert committee on Thursday with the aim of narrowing the differences and coming up with a viable solution.
“We are open and flexible, and corrective steps will be taken in the interest of people,” Garg said.
The NHPC has already informed the expert committee that dams like Bhakra Dam and Ranjit Sagar are performing satisfactorily.
Garg made it clear that “power or no power, there will be no compromise on safety and security.”
He said the corporation, which has 35 years of experience, is not new to the hydropower sector and had got all the clearances and taken the best of technical skill and advice before starting work on the project.
Three units of the Subansiri project are scheduled to be commissioned by March 2012 while the rest will be commissioned by the end of that year. The dam height has been reduced from 275 metres to 115 metres. Further reduction in height has been ruled out.
“If there are perceptions that there will be problems due to the dam, the corporation will address them if they are justifiable, and will take remedial steps,” Garg said.
Downstream impact of the project also figured in the discussion. Garg said this was a completely new issue and the corporation was dealing with it for the first time. “But we were the first to commission a study,” he added.
“The estimated project cost when it comes to the stage of commissioning will be between Rs 8,000-9,000 crore.”