Demwe Lower Project gets NBWL nod

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Sep 26: The standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has decided to recommend construction of the 1750 MW Demwe Lower Project M/s Athena Energy Ventures Pvt. Ltd.) in its recent meeting held on 7 September.
It said that the state government will permit the project proponent to start the work on the project only after the study, “Geospatial Analysis of Impacts of Lower Demwe Hydroelectric Project on the Riverine Ecosystems of Lohit Basin,” is commissioned by the project proponent at the project cost.
The conditions give are that “an undertaking shall be submitted or a legal binding instrument shall be signed by the project proponent to the effect that they shall abide the findings of study,” including those regarding the maximum amount of water to be released during peaking operations.
Before the start of dam construction work, all the mitigation measures required to be taken during pre-construction and construction period shall be finalized by the project proponent in consultation with the state chief wildlife warden and the Wildlife Institute of India.
For taking up mitigation measures during post dam construction period, an undertaking shall be submitted or a legal binding instrument shall be signed by the project proponent to the effect they will implement all mitigation measures recommended by the current study and by the proposed study.
The six-monthly compliance report on the stipulated conditions should be submitted by the user agency to the state chief wildlife warden and an annual compliance certificate shall be submitted by the CWLW.
Athena Infraprojects Pvt Ltd, the parent company of Athena Demwe Power Ltd, the proponent of the proposed 1,750 MW (Demwe Lower) is currently battling insolvency.
The company wants the Arunachal Pradesh Government, which holds 26 percent in Athena Demwe Power Ltd, to bail it out.
The NGT had suspended the Stage-I and Stage-II forest clearances to 1750 (MW) Demwe Lower in October 2017, stating that former Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan’s decision to overrule the non-official expert members of the NBWL to clear the project was taken in violation of laid down rules.
In 2012, Natarajan had overruled the concerns of expert members regarding downstream impacts to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park and Biosphere Reserve, as well as the Kamlang Sanctuary, following which conservationist Bimal Gogoi had challenged the forest clearance.