Arunachal power project hit by Assam blockades

Arunachal power project hit by Assam blockades

New Delhi: State-run NHPC Ltd’s Subansiri Lower (2,000MW) hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh, the utility’s biggest project, is being hampered by blockades in Assam that have affected the movement of material to the site.

NHPC has conveyed its concern about the disruption of supply lines to the Assam state government following a spate of bandhs in and around the Dhemaji and Lakhimpur areas, which have halted project activities.

“Naturally our project is getting affected," said S.K. Garg, chairman and managing director of NHPC. “We have been requesting the Assam government to take care of this issue."

The Rs6,400 crore project, which is expected to provide power to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, has already witnessed long delays because of environmental problems and border disputes between the two states as reported by Mint earlier.

P.C. Sharma, Assam chief secretary, did not respond to questions sent by email to his office.

NHPC plans to commission three units producing 750MW by March 2012 and the remaining five units totalling 1,250MW by December 2012. In addition, it plans to develop hydropower projects that will generate 6,500MW of power in Arunachal Pradesh. The utility is currently building 12 projects that will have a total capacity of 5,322MW.

The utility has asked the Assam state government to “maintain healthy law and order conditions" in and around the project areas.

The total hydropower generation potential of the North-East and Bhutan is about 58,000MW. Arunachal Pradesh alone, among the North-Eastern states, has a potential to generate 50,328MW of hydropower—the highest in the country, according to the Central Electricity Authority, India’s apex power sector planning body.

“Hydro projects face these kind(s) of problems unlike thermal projects," said Rupesh Sankhe, an equity research analyst at Angel Broking Ltd. “These problems will further delay the Subansiri project."