GUWAHATI: The State government has urged the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to allow the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to complete the 2,000-MW Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) “without further delay”.
This plea was made by the State government in its affidavit before the Eastern Zone Bench of the NGT, which was submitted on July 15, 2017 opposing the submissions made by former All Assam Students’ Union leader and Gauhati High Court advocate Tularam Gogoi.
The State government has said in its submission that the State as well as the Union governments have been taking up various flood control measures in the flood-prone downstream areas of the LSHEP. It also stated that the Assam Legislative Assembly in its March session had discussed the LSHEP issue and there was a general consensus to complete the 2,000-MW project as early as possible.
It also described the apprehensions expressed by Gogoi that there would be adverse downstream impact of the LSHEP as premature. It stated, “…it is premature on the part of the petitioner to anticipate the adverse downstream impact without taking into account of the downstream impact mitigation measures under implementation which have been taken up by the NHPC.” It further referred to various high level expert committees of the Government of India and also the State government in this respect.
Moreover, Gogoi’s petition has also been described by the State government to be “entirely misplaced, mischievous and guided by ulterior motives”.
Again, on the adverse impact of the LSHEP on the elephant corridor, the State government stated that the “migratory route of elephant is 5-7 km downstream (south) of the dam site and the same is not blocked by the project as per report of the Environment and Forest Department”.
Similarly, it said, “There shall also be no impact on elephant movement due to the extraction of sand and stone from the proposed shoal area as there will be enough area towards south for elephant movement.”
But in this respect, environmentalists here refer to the observation made by the Elephant Task Force of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in its August 31, 2010 report (Gajah: Securing the Future for Elephants in India). The Task Force has stated in this report: “The hydro-electric project in Lower Subansiri has also adversely and seriously affected the elephant movement in the area.”