Seminar on hydropower development

CM calls for focusing on feasible projects

ITANAGAR, Feb 11: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday advocated focusing on establishing “10 feasible and beneficial hydropower projects” on a mission mode during 2019-24, instead of taking up projects at random.
“There’s no point taking up projects at random. Let us focus on 10 feasible and beneficial projects and we will take these up on mission mode,” the CM said, addressing the opening ceremony of a seminar on ‘Prosperity of Arunachal Pradesh through accelerated hydropower development’, organised by the hydropower development (HPD) department at the legislative assembly here.
While Arunachal has the capacity to generate 50,000 mw of power, the state has so far been able to generate only about 2 percent of its potential, he lamented.
“Despite being the richest state in the country in terms of hydropower resources that could overhaul its state of economy, Arunachal Pradesh still has to depend upon the Centre for its sustenance,” he said.
“For the last 10-15 years we have been told that Arunachal Pradesh is the powerhouse of India. Where is this powerhouse?” he asked the participants – including ministers, legislators, scientists, top bureaucrats, power developers, financial institutions, project affected people’s representatives and representatives of civil society organisations – rhetorically.
Stating that the people have given his government the mandate to steer the state on the path of accelerated development, Khandu said “this five-year period (2019-24) should be the turning point for Arunachal Pradesh and its people.”
He said mini and micro hydel projects should also be implemented side by side in places that do not have grid connectivity.
The CM also informed that the state’s revenue, which stood at about Rs 900 crore when he took over as CM in 2016, has increased to about Rs 2000 crore in 2018-19.
“As has been projected, think how much will be our revenue when we start earning Rs 15,000 crore per year only from hydropower projects, if implemented,” he said.
Khandu blamed “petty politics played by some vested interests” behind the stalling of power projects in the state.
“In my opinion, those who put hurdles in developmental projects just for the heck of it are antinational. I call upon all, even those in the opposition, to shed our politics and join hands with the government to bring in investments and successfully complete all developmental projects, including hydropower,” he said.
The CM issued a warning to government officials from the top to the lowest level, asking them to “refrain from conniving with vested interests and indulging in acts hampering projects.”
He said he has directed the chief secretary to “take to task any official found to be misleading the people and hampering implementation of projects.”
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, who also holds the hydropower portfolio, said Arunachal “has been crying for lack of resources when the resources are right at the doorstep,” and sought united efforts to harness the state’s abundant hydropower potential.
Stating that Arunachal faces challenges owing to its remoteness and unique tribal cultural diversity, Mein said project execution in the state “requires innovativeness and an ability to understand the social fabric.”
“In addition to being environment-friendly, hydro energy is economically viable in the long run as the major ingredient, water, is provided by nature and free,” he said.
Since the people of the state cherish their association with the environment, the aspect of coexisting with nature should be taken into account while executing any project, he said.
Expressing pleasure over the presence of about 33 power developers, the DCM said the government would “set up a system where clearances are given in a timely manner and developers are made to feel welcome for investment.”
He said a “resource and knowledge centre” would be set up under the HPD department, “where developers and stakeholders can utilize the information and learning from across operation and under-development projects.”
Subject experts, research scholars, deputy commissioners, officials of the environment & forests department, engineers, and land management and land revenue officers also attended the seminar. (CM’s PR Cell)