TheLower Subansiri Hydel Project shall be completed in 48 months as the NHPC hasgone in full steam, amassing around 3500 workers and waiting for the arrival ofanother 3500 workers.
ExecutiveDirector of the NHPC's Lower Subansiri Project informed that followingfavourable judgment of the National Green Tribunal(NGT) for the Damconstruction, the work has resumed this October almost eight years of stalemate.
"We have reached 52% and shall love to proceed 1% every month and that way we will need 48 months and that means by end of 2024 it should be commissioned," said Mr. Bhat.
The NHPC is now in the process of floating a new tender for choosing a contractor for the powerhouse as the previous one L&T left the NHPC project due to long suspension of work, said Mr Bhat.
TheLower Subansiri project, which will produce 2000 megawatts of power, is beingdeveloped as part of India's hydropower program to generate a total of 50,000megawatts.
The run-of-the-river project is expected to incur an expenditure of over Rs 24000 croroe. It will consist of a concrete gravity dam, which will be 116 meters high from the river bed level and 130 meters from the foundation with a length of 284 meters, said GM (Construction) Satyanarayan.
Theconstruction of Lower Subansiri dam had started in 2005 and was due to becompleted in 2010. However, the project was delayed due to protests over itsenvironmental impact. Work came to a grinding halt 2011 when anti-dam activistsset up roadblocks to prevent the shipment of machinery.
"As direct stakeholders I find that the dam is very disturbing for us and there is a threat for the downstream people and Court should have taken that into the account" said environmentalist Manoj Gogoi.
Healso cast aspersion on the petition filed against the NHPC. "Today I am reasonsto believe that the court cases actually helped the NHPC. As the court case hadgone in their favour , we can not now raise or voice" said Mr Gogoi.
Protestersalleged that the dam would not be able to resist earthquakes in a zone that ishighly prone to seismic activity. Leaders at the vanguard of the agitation hadcited numerous instances of flooding in Assam whenever water was released fromthe Ranganadi dam in Arunachal Pradesh and Kurishu in Bhutan.
Butthat was allayed by Dam consultant Abu Ahmed. He clearly said that numerous committeehad looked into it and favoured for the dam.
Meanwhile,the project became a subject of litigation in 2013, when Assam Public Works filed a suit in the National GreenTribunal challenging the recommendation of both the Joint Steering Committeeand the Expert Group
Committee.Almost four years later, the court passed a judgment directing the governmentto constitute a committee of three experts to evaluate the project.
Monthsafter the committee submitted a report approving the dam, the National GreenTribunal dismissed the petition to reconstitute the committee and ordered theresumption of construction.
Asper the new design, the width of the dam has been increased from 171 meters to271 meters in order to make it safer and an additional cut-off wall would bebuilt downstream.
NHPChas clarified that all technical issues have been resolved as per thesuggestions of an expert committee to prevent adverse downstream impact.