After vetoing Vedanta Group's bauxite mining project in Orissa last month, Minister Jairam Ramesh bats for anti-dam activists. He is putting the brakes on mega hydel projects in Andra Pradesh.
An expert committee report in June had confirmed the dam was not environmentally feasible.The Lower Subansiri Project, being developed by NHPC Ltd, has been under attack from various circles in Assam for the perceived threat to downstream areas in the state and also for the degrade of surrounding ecology. Even the Assam government had voiced its concern at several platforms over construction of mega dams in Arunachal Pradesh.
An EIGHT-MEMBER expert committee had recommended a thorough review and redesign of the 115-metre high dam on the Subansiri river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra.
In its final report submitted on June 29 to NHPC, the committee expressed reservations over the dam, saying it could adversely impact downstream areas. The report revealed inadequacies in the damâ€™s design. The spillway for releasing floodwaters has been designed incorrectly, it said. The spillway is designed for a maximum discharge of 12,024 cumec, whereas the maximum discharge recorded on July 11, 1971, was more than 21,230 cumec.
â€œClearly the dam has not been designed for the highest discharge,â€ said Chandan Mahanta of IIT Guwahati, a panel member.