Environmental clearance for country’s biggest hydro project

Sujay Mehdudia

Work on the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Power project expected to start soon

NEW DELHI: Clearing decks for execution of country’s biggest hydro power project, the Ministry of Environment and Forest has granted “environmental clearance” to the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Power project in the border State of Arunachal Pradesh.

Giving this information here, Minister of State for Power, Jairam Ramesh said that work on the project is expected to start shortly as the required environmental clearance had been given by the Environment Ministry. “It is a big step forward in giving shape to India’s one of the most ambitious hydro power projects. It would also give a fillip to development and employment in Arunachal Pradesh. All the norms and guidelines laid down in the new Hydro Power Policy would be implemented providing for protection and proper rehabilitation of the local population if any,” Mr. Jairam remarked.

Mr. Jairam said that preference would be given to the local population for employment and all efforts would be made to train the people in the area in various skills so that after getting the necessary training and education, they could even get employment opportunities at the mega project site itself.

The Lower Subansiri Hydropower project envisages the setting up of eight hydropower units of 250 MW each on the lower reaches of river Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Subansiri district. The project, with an estimated completion cost of Rs.6,285 crore has already been approved by the Union Cabinet. The civil and structural work of the project was awarded to Larsen & Toubro (ECC division) in December 2003 while a consortium of Soma Enterprises and two Russian companies bagged the mandate for construction the main dam. The project has been hit by long delays and concerns over its impact on environment, concerns that have been adequately addressed by the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC).