Source: News Bharati English04 May 2016 15:00:25

Itanagar, May 4: Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Kalikho Pul was making the case for fast-tracking environmental clearances for hydropower projects. Speaking at the conference ‘Hydro power at crossroads – tapping the untapped’, organized by Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM), Pul said that hydropower would be developed in an optimal manner, in which, the environmental impact and human displacement would be reduced to the absolute minimal possible and positive outcomes are achieved in the shortest possible time.
According to media agencies, there are 156 dams that have been planned for construction that are projected to generate over 50,000 mega watt of power. However, almost all projects are still in the planning stages and most are awaiting environmental clearances.

While experts and communities continue to argue the damages of these dams on the environment, Pul today said that hydropower is the only viable source for the resource strapped state which could provide sustainable means of livelihood. He also said that the state government would involve all stakeholders and take residents into confidence and dispel any misgivings that they may have on account of resettlement due to the hydropower projects.

Seeking the support of financial institutions and the Centre, Pul said the state government was willing to extend all necessary cooperation and assistance adding, “In a nation endowed with huge natural resources, and particularly Arunachal Pradesh with its 58,000MW hydropower potential, this is but a natural choice.” To fast track clearance processes at the state level, he said that all support to developers for installing and commissioning of hydropower plants with facilities of single window clearance will be provide.

However, he said that projects have been delayed due to long construction periods, lack of transport infrastructure, environmental concerns and geological risks, including environmental and other clearances. Criticising mandatory of basin studies, Pul said that they have hurt small hydro projects below 25MW which had to be dropped based on the basin studies. He said that the forest clearances should be delinked with the completion of basin studies.