State summons NEEPCO CMD as Panyor turns turbid following RHEP shutdown

Downstream has been damaged: Rebia

[ Tongam Rina ]

KIMIN, Feb 15: The chief managing director (CMD) of the NEEPCO has been summoned by the state government after the Panyor (Ranganadi) river downstream of the 405 mw Ranganadi hydroelectric project (RHEP) turned extremely turbid following the start of maintenance work at the project located in Yazali in Lower Subansiri district.
Environment Minister Nabam Rebia during a meeting with the RHEP’s Head of Project (HoP) P Burman in Yazali on Friday said the CMD has to visit the area within the next one week to answer why the river has turned turbid in the downstream, and to address the concerns of the downstream people over ecological destruction.

Turbid Panyor

The shutdown of the RHEP for maintenance began on 9 February, following which the downstream of the Panyor turned turbid, resulting in loss of aquatic life. In the entire downstream stretch, fishes have turned up dead on the banks of the river, while domesticated animals that depend on the river are not seen in the area.
The minister, who visited the downstream of the river before the meeting, wanted to know the remedial measures from the NEEPCO authorities.
The NEEPCO authorities had no answer to the minister’s question but said the concerns of the people would be passed on to the higher authorities.
Rebia said the NEEPCO has to explain to the government of Arunachal and the people why curative measures were not taken before the plant was shut down for maintenance.
“The downstream has been damaged,” Rebia informed the NEEPCO HoP.
Intriguingly, no one from the NEEPCO has visited the downstream areas after the maintenance work started.
“There is acute technical lacuna, and the NEEPCO should have anticipated that the downstream would turn turbid,” the minister said.
He also questioned the NEEPCO as to why a dumping site was not finalized before the maintenance work started.
The shutdown started before the finalization of a dumping site.
HoP Burman said the radial gates were opened on 9 February, and that they had not anticipated that so much silt would go with the water as the plant was maintaining the natural flow of the river.
He assured that the turbidity would not last long, but it failed to convince the representatives of the Lichi-Cher Ranganadi Project Affected Area Management Committee (LCRPAAMC), a downstream organisation which had been protesting the shutdown till a dumping site was finalized.
PCCF (Forest) LR Thanga said the situation downstream was an “emergency,” and that it was unacceptable that the NEEPCO did not anticipate that such a crisis would arise.
Kimin SDO Likha Tejji accused the RHEP of not doing its homework well. In the meeting,