Chief Minister Pema Khandu once again on Tuesday emphasized that hydropower is key to Arunachal becoming financially self-sufficient. The CM was addressing the regional pre-budget consultative meeting for Upper Subansiri, Kamle, Lower Subansiri, Kra-Daadi, Kurung Kumey and Papum Pare districts. This kind of pre-budget consultative meeting being held region-wise is a step in the right direction. It will provide opportunities to the stakeholders to have wide-ranging discussions. However, the discussions should not remain within the four corners of room and should be brought into action.
The chief minister is right to pinpoint that the hydropower sector will help the state gain financial independence. Right now, Arunachal is totally dependent on central grants to carry out developmental projects. However, the majority of hydropower projects have failed to take off in the state. Barring a few, like the Kameng 600 mw and the 100 mw Pare projects, the majority of the projects have been shelved. The 2,880 mw Dibang, the 1,750 mw Lower Demwe and the 2,000 mw Lower Subansiri projects are languishing at various stages. Instead of going for these major projects, the government will stand to benefit from concentrating on smaller projects which can be easily executed. Major dams have the potential to cause large-scale displacement of human and animal populations. It is not desirable for a state like Arunachal. There is a need to relook the hydropower policy. To realize the true potential of the hydropower sector, the government will have to prepare a proper policy, keeping in mind the local issues.