Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has said that his government would oppose mega dams of hydropower projects in upper reaches of the Brahmaputra water system in Arunachal Pradesh.
The National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) is executing the 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric Project (SLHEP) on the Assam - Arunachal Pradesh border at Gerukamukh. In addition, the Arunachal Pradesh government too has signed MoUs with private sector entities to set up a number of hydel projects in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra water system.
"If the proposed mega dams of hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh will harm Assam, I will oppose construction of dams in upper reaches of Brahmaputra water system. Assam's interest will not be compromised", said Gogoi.
Assam government had urged the Centre to set up a 'technical team' consisting of internationally acclaimed seismologists, experts on mega dam to study the downstream impact of mega dams.
On the mega dam construction on upper reaches of Brahmaputra water system in Arunachal Pradesh hills as part of the hydropower projects, the state witnessed anti-dam movement. Various organisations has opposed move in Arunachal Pradesh.
Gogoi government also draws flaks from anti dam movement groups for its silence over the construction of mega dams as parts of hydroelectric projects in hills of Arunachal Pradesh.
The hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh have given rise to widespread concern and anxiety in Assam. It is apprehended that once these projects are completed, there would be flash flood in the down stream areas of Assam when there is sudden and excessive discharge of waters after heavy rainfalls. Besides, there are apprehensions that these projects would have adverse impact on erosion, siltation, bio diversity and ecology of the region.
Recently, an expert committee from IIT (Guwahati), Guwahati University and Dibrugarh University, which was appointed by NHPC in consultation with Assam Govt. submitted a report on "downstream impact study of the ongoing Subansiri lower hydro electric project".
The expert committee in its report have pointed out that the Subansiri dam is structurally inadequate to meet the seismic requirement of the area. The report also pointed out that the project would cause flash flood, siltation and erosion in downstream areas.
"My stand is not against big dams but the problems pointed out by the expert panel should be addressed," added Gogoi.
Assam Govt. urged the Centre for setting up of a North East Water Resources Authority (NEWRA) for evolving a holistic and integrated water and hydel policy for the entire North Eastern Region.