An environment ministry committee has approved three adjacent hydel projects on a small river in Arunachal Pradesh even as cumulative impact assessment of these projects on the state’s river management system is yet to be finalised.
The expert appraisal committee (EAC) — a statutory body under the Environment Protection Act — this month approved three of the seven hydel projects proposed on Yarjep river, a tributary of Siang river, overruling environmental concerns.
These projects would generate about 666 MW of power of the total 888 MW proposed from the seven projects on the river.
South Asia Network for Dams Rivers and People (SANDRP), a non-government organisation, has submitted a presentation opposing the projects on the river in southern Arunachal Pradesh saying the adverse impact to local flora and fauna has not been examined.
The organisation also said that although seven projects are proposed on the river, cumulative assessment has been done only for the three projects being considered by the EAC. This, the group said, does not present a realistic picture on the overall impact of so many projects on a small river.
The Arunachal Pradesh government, which is building these projects in public private partnership mode, said the reservoirs could improve agriculture productivity and lead to development of the backward area. The state also negated any adverse environmental implications saying the concerns had been addressed in the environment impact assessment report.
Giving approval to the three projects called HEO, Tato and Pauk hydel projects, the EAC recommended that the Arunachal Pradesh forest department declare intact forest patches within Yarjep catchment area as “conservation or community” reserves under the Wildlife Protection Act. “This effort along with an intensive conservation education in this region would help in biodiversity conservation,” the EAC said.
Tato-1 hydel project (186 MW) on Yarjep river
PAUK hydel project (240 MW) on Yarjep river
HEO hydel project (240 MW) on Yarjep river