Modifications in Lower Subansiri dam design accepted: Gogoi

Guwahati, Oct 17 (IANS) The union power ministry has agreed to modify the design of the dam of NHPC's Lower Subansiri Hydro Electric Power Project, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said Thursday.

Citing a recent letter from Minister of State for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia, Gogoi said the central government had also agreed to allocate another 300 MW power to Assam in addition to the already allocated 208 MW of paid and 25 MW of free power.

According to Scindia's letter, the issue of the Lower Subansiri project was examined in detail and as a follow up of recommendations of the Tahtte Committee, an independent Dam Design Review Panel (DDRP) was set up.

The DDRP has examined the issues involved - foundation competency, seismic aspect, dam design review and existing ground conditions and has proposed some additional safety measures, it said.

These have been accepted and the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has been asked to take the project forward on the lines suggested by the DDRP, the letter said.

Gogoi also said that to mitigate the downstream impact, NHPC has agreed to implement the recommendations of the Joint Steering Committee set up by the state government.

He said that Scindia also mentioned that a delay in resumption of work will result in increase in tariff that has ultimately to be borne by the public and asked the state to facilitate tripartite talks between the NHPC, the central government and the agitating groups so that the issue can be resolved at the earliest.

"The project has already been delayed. We are going to talk to the organizations like the All Assam Students' Union (Aasu) and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), who had been opposing the construction work of the project on various grounds so that the work of the project resumes at the earliest," said Gogoi.

Gogoi said that the power situation in Assam is going to improve in the near future as the state government had already asked the central government for about 240 MW of power from the Palatana power project in Tripura.

"Immediately we are going to get 90 MW of power from Palatana project but from next year we are going to receive 240 MW of power," he said.

"We are also going to get some power from the thermal power project in Bongaigaon by next year and efforts are also on through the central government to buy power from Bhutan," he said.

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