Nothing to worry on Subansiri, says NHPC


Under fire from many quarters on the safety of the 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project, the NHPC today said there is no reason for the people of the state to 'worry' as it has been vetted by concerned agencies of the country.
" They should not worry as detailed studies have been undertaken by topmost agencies and all of them have vetted the project" a senior NHPC official looking after Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project said. The Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project which is now under construction is the biggest hydro project not only in India but in South East Asia also.
" We should believe in some authority. If we donot believe there is no end then. There has been no case of dam failure uptil now " the official said adding that it has commissioned 14 projects. Ten more projects are under commissioning at various places in the country.
The official said the company has built dams higher the present Subansiri project which is still under construction and there have been no problems. The Chamera hydroelectric project in Himachal Pradesh where the dam height is 141 metres and the 118 metre high dam of Salal project in Jammu and Kashmir is functioning perfectly.
The Subansiri Lower project with 8 units of 250 MW, each, is a run-of-river scheme, on the river Subansiri.
"Some groups are exploiting the situation by saying that the project is unsafe. This is completely untrue " he said adding that combined effort of Centre and state is required for the early commissioning of the project.
A steering committee has already been constituted by NHPC on request from the state government which will be suggesting remedial measures on the downstream impact of the project.
" There have been two sittings already. The report would be a comprehensive one which will look into the downstream impact and suggest remedial measures" the official said. Members of the committee have travelled from downstream of the project right to the confluence of Subansiri river.
The Assam government is also preparing a detailed project report for protection of villages downstream of the Subansiri river in the event of a dam breach on the project.
Allaying fears of downstream impact, the official said there will be flood cushioning and the project has the capacity to absorb 425 million cubic metres of water. " We will lower the reservoir level to 15 metres in the monsoon months and adequate warning will be given" the official said.
The expert committee on the downstream impact had recommended for proper and adequate flood cushioning to be kept in the reservoir to minimize the dam-induced flash flood like in Ranganadi project of NEEPCO. It had also recommeded installation of warning system along both banks downstream of the dam site up to confluence of the Subansiri river with the Brahmaputra river for timely evacuation of downstream population in event of catastrophic flood.
The company is worried on the delay in commissioning of the project. The project is already three years behind the schedule and is trying hard to get the projectcommissioned atleast by 2014.
On Assam still not signing the memorandum of agreement, the official said negotiations are still going on. Discussions are going on with the administration for early release of turbines.
On the power allocation, the official said Assam will get 250 MW and can get more as negotiations are still underway. " Assam will benefit the most from the project" the official. 1000 MW power from the project is for the Northeast.
The project when it gets commissioned by 2014 would be costing a whopping Rs 10,500 crore. Five thousand crores have already been spent.
The official said 50 percent of the work has already been completed and most of the 'challenges' have been overcome. The problem of landslides has been taken care of.


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