NEEPCO RHEP shutdown deferred for PM’s visit

[ Tongam Rina ]

ITANAGAR, Feb 2: The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) has postponed the shutdown of the Ranganadi (Panyor) hydroelectric project (RHEP) in Yazali in Lower Subansiri district till 9 February in view of the upcoming visit of the prime minister.
The postponement has perhaps been necessitated because the PM is slated to inaugurate the 110 mw Pare hydroelectric project, which utilizes the tail race discharge of the 405 mw RHEP.
In a circular it issued on Saturday, the NEEPCO RHEP stated that the shutdown has been deferred to 9 February as per the instruction of the union power secretary, in view of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the northeastern region on 8 February.
The PM is scheduled to visit Assam on 8 February, and Arunachal and Tripura on 9 February.
The Pare hydroelectric project has missed several deadlines already and, last reported, it was scheduled to be commissioned in March 2018.
According to records, the project, which started in 2010, was originally scheduled to be completed by August 2012, but was revised to December 2017 as the heavy machineries required could not reach the project site due to the construction of the Trans-Arunachal Highway.
With the dam site at Jampa, the concrete gravity dam on the Dikrong river would stand 63 metres high and 134.257 metres long. The run-of-the-river project has its powerhouse at Sopo, three kms downstream of Jampa. The tunnel bringing water from the dam storage is 1.029 kms long.
The postponement of the shutdown is the latest in a series of problems since the RHEP first announced the shutdown plan on 2 January.
In their original circular, dated 24 December, 2018, but made public on 2 January this year, NEEPCO officials had said that the shutdown would start on 1 February and last till 30 April.
However, downstream organizations opposed the shutdown unless the site for dumping the silt was finalized. The NEEPCO had not finalized a dumping site before it made the shutdown announcement, which led to opposition from downstream organisations, forcing the district administration of Papum Pare to intervene.
The downstream organisations – the All Kimin Youth Welfare Association and the Lichi-Cher Ranganadi Project Affected Area Management Committee – had said that they would not allow the shutdown unless a dumping site was finalized and NEEPCO authorities assured the safety and security of the downstream people.
A committee was formed by the Papum Pare district administration following a meeting with the NEEPCO authorities and the two downstream organisations for finalization of a dumping site, among other issues.
The two sites identified are yet to be finalized because of objection from the landowner in Chun village in the case of one, while the other is deemed too close to the reservoir in the Potin-Yazali area.
Though the NEEPCO has termed the shutdown “mandatory maintenance,” insiders say the shutdown has been forced due to a leakage in one of the tunnels.