Centre Should Have Water Management Regime for NE: Bordoloi

Seeking urgent steps to address water -related issues in the North East, Assam Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi has said the Centre should consider a specific water management regime for the region.

He also said that civil society should be taken into confidence before implementing hydel power projects in the North East.

Even though the region is estimated to have huge hydro power generation potential, some projects such as NHPC's 2000 MW Lower Subansiri have run into rough weather amid various concerns including those related to environment.

"Government of India has to step in, in a very decisive manner, and a proper water governance regime has to be put in place (for the North East)... There has to be an authority to control the water release and the entire gamut of water management in the region," Bordoloi told PTI here.

Calling for a "subjective analysis" of issues related to hydro power, he said there should be specific policies in place besides taking the civil society into confidence before implementing the projects.

Bordoloi said: "You have to have some subjective analysis. Certain areas you may have run of the river projects... You cannot have a uniform policy. You have to have very specific policies. But at the same you have to take the civil society into confidence, that is very important. You have to try to build the consensus."

The total installed hydel power generation capacity in the North Eastern region was around 1,242 MW at the end of June, according to data compiled by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

Among the seven states in the region, Assam has the highest hydro power capacity of over 429 MW.

Currently, India's installed hydel power capacity is more than 40,730 MW.

"It was assessed that Arunachal Pradesh itself can generate about 65,000 MW of hydro power. It was a very theoretical perspective... In Arunachal Pradesh if they have to put up hundreds of assorted hydel power projects all over the state that may have a lot of serious repercussions in the downstream," Bordoloi said.

According to him, it is not just power generation but many other issues are involved.

"You have to be pragmatic, you have to have a holistic approach. Not only power but you also have to address other issues like adverse downstream effects, apprehensions about environmental damage," he added.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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