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Arunachal hands over five stalled hydropower projects to Central PSUs with aim to generate 2,820MW power

The projects are being fast tracked despite concerns over adverse impacts in downstream areas in neighbouring Assam
Last Updated : 10 January 2023, 16:14 IST

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In a major push to hydropower, Arunachal Pradesh government on Tuesday decided to hand over five stalled hydropower projects to central PSUs with a target to produce 2,820 MW electricity and generate annual revenue of Rs 500 crore.

The state government had earlier signed agreements with private power developers for implementing the projects but the contracts were terminated following long delays in execution of the same. The state Cabinet on Tuesday decided to hand over the Naying hydropower project (1,000 MW) and Hirong project (500 MW) to the Northeastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO). It was decided to hand over the Emini hydro project (500 MW), Amulin (420 MW), and Minundon project (400 MW) to the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL), a central PSU for execution.

"These projects will see an investment of Rs 40,000 crore in the next five to seven years and would generate green power of 2,820 MW and provide revenue of around Rs 500 crore per year in free power and around Rs 100 crore for Local Area Development. The Cabinet approved the indicative procedure for transferring the stalled hydropower projects from the independent power producers to CPSUs in order to unlock the potential," the state government said in a statement issued after the Cabinet meeting.

The private players did not go ahead with the work fearing cost escalation mainly due to strong protests by various organisations in neighbouring Assam. The agitators fear that these hydropower projects would have serious impact in the downstream areas in Assam. They also demanded that the projects be scrapped and instead mini multi-purpose hydro projects be taken up in order to avoid adverse impacts of the large dams on the ecosystem and humans.

The agitation stalled work on the 2,000 MW Subansiri lower project on Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border between 2011 and 2019. The work on the project, however, is in its final stage. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 19 last year inaugurated 600 MW Kameng hydro project and said that harnessing hydropower in Arunachal Pradesh is a priority of the government. Work on the country's biggest hydro project on the Dibang river (2,080 MW) is also likely to commence soon.

The government on Tuesday, however, did not talk about possible adverse impacts and said that an action plan has been prepared to commence the work on 13 priority projects with 12,343 MW capacity. This would lead to an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore and would provide a revenue of Rs 2,000 crore to the frontier state as free power and around Rs 350 crore per year for local area development, said the statement.

"The hydropower would contribute majorly towards India’s commitment of increasing non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW. Hydropower is a major source of renewable energy and if harnessed would bring in all round socio economic development of the area through massive investment in infrastructure as well as provisions such as free power, local area development fund, employment, contracts and business opportunities, social sector development such as health and education," said the statement.

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Published 10 January 2023, 16:14 IST

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