Shinde firm on Gerukamukh project

Itanagar: Despite protests by anti-dam activists in Arunachal Pradesh and neighbouring Assam over execution of the 2,000-MW Lower Subansiri hydro-electric project at Gerukamukh, the Centre has made it clear that it will forge ahead with the project.

“Completion of the project is the Centre’s top priority to provide relief to the power-starved nation,” Power Minister Suhil Kumar Shinde said here yesterday.

With a hydropower potential of 58,000 MW, the highest in the country, Arunachal has a greater responsibility toward nation building and the state has to take the initiative as power is a state subject.

The project being executed by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has invited public ire in recent times, with apprehension that it would have serious impact on the people of Assam.

During 2010-11, India’s base load requirement was 861,591 MU, against the availability of 788,355 MU, a deficit of 73,236 MU, or 8.5 per cent, which went up to 9.8 per cent during peak load situations.

“The Centre will extend all help and support to the state government for execution of all projects,” Shinde said, adding that most of the projects, including those in Tawang, were run-of-the-river ones without any storage tanks and so there should not be any apprehension about the safety of large dams.

He said the Water Resources Ministry would engage a team of experts for conducting a river basin study to allay all such apprehensions.

Sikkim has a hydropower potential of 8,000 MW, Shinde said, adding that none of its ongoing hydropower projects was affected by the recent 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit the state.

With 30,000 MW of hydropower potential and an installed capacity of 1,488 MW, Bhutan has been reaping the benefits of its natural resources and so will Arunachal, he said. (PTI)

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