Lohit river basin to be hit by hydro projects

Lohit plan will impact river: report
Project may affect ecology
Guwahati, Sept. 12: Construction of the six proposed hydroelectric projects on Lohit in Arunachal Pradesh could adversely affect the river’s ecology, impacting aquatic life and animals, a draft report has concluded.
Six projects with installed capacity of 7,450MW — Demwe Lower, Demwe Upper, Hutong-II, Hutong-I, Kalai-II and Kalai-I — will restrict the 144.2-km river to 42.4km, which is 30 per cent of the river’s stretch.
The Lohit basin is the eastern most river basin of India, forming part of the Brahamputra basin, with its catchment spreading across the international border, covering part of Tibet.
It is bounded by China and part of Dibang valley district of Arunachal Pradesh in the north, Changlang district in the south, the hills of Myanmar in the east and Assam in the west.
“Construction of the proposed dams would hamper the upward and downward migratory movement of various fish species in summer and winter. It is likely that the migration of fish species, Schizothorax richardsonii and Acrossocheilus hexagonolepis, in the 144.2km stretch would be affected on account of construction of the proposed hydroelectric projects. Likewise, migration of fish species from tributaries to river Lohit would be affected on account of creation of reservoirs because of construction of proposed hydroelectric projects. Thus, the projects will lead to adverse impact on migratory fish species,” says the report which has been compiled by WAPCOS Limited, a government of India undertaking under the instruction of the ministry of environment and forests.
Congregation of workers could disturb wildlife during construction of the project, the report said.
Besides, the sites chosen for the projects should free from dense vegetation, away from wildlife habitats, including breeding sites, and riverbanks.
“In view of this it is recommended that adequate number of check posts be developed in the major construction area and in the vicinity of labour camps to prevent poaching in the area. Each check-post shall have four guards, who will be supervised by a range officer,” the report said.
The expert appraisal committee for river valley and hydroelectric projects under the ministry of environment and forests, on the other hand, has called for a study of the downstream impact of Lohit on Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Assam, which the current report has not included. It also pointed out that the tributaries of Lohit river have not been studied.
The committee said the ecology, flora/fauna presented in the report is not adequate and lower group of plants have not been reported at all. While scientists prepared a checklist of 213 species of fishes in Arunachal Pradesh, the report has mentioned only eight fishes in Lohit river.


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