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Trouble looms for 100 dam contracts in Arunachal
NEW DELHI, OCT 2 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 2 Oct. 2010 11:44 PM IST
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More than 100 contracts that the Arunachal Pradesh government has signed to build dams across the hilly north-eastern state could be in for trouble.
PM Manmohan Singh will soon hold a meeting of select ministers to decide if these hydro-electric projects should be put on hold till comprehensive studies are conducted to understand their impact on the state’s environment as well as the consequences downstream in neighbouring Assam.
Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, environment minister Jairam Ramesh, water resources minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and external affairs minister S M Krishna along with deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia will attend the meeting.
The meeting, sources in the PMO said, would consider the ecological implications for more than 100 dams for which the Arunachal government has signed Memorandum of Understandings with various public and private companies.
With Assam elections due in six months, the issue has also gathered political momentum in the north-eastern state.
Sources told TOI that the meeting is expected to consider the impacts of the existing dams in Arunachal Pradesh such as Lower Subansiri and Tipaimukh in Manipur. The Centre could review whether to persist with work on these dams till further studies are conducted.
Earlier, environment minister Jairam Ramesh had stated that some of the dams in Arunachal Pradesh are important both from the geo-strategic and power generation points of view.
The meeting could discuss about dams on River Siang since there has been local resistance against them. Talks are also likely to be held about the haphazard manner in which the dams are being constructed across Arunachal, with a lack of coordination over the overall impact on the river basin.
Though most of these dams are yet to be operational in Arunachal, the Centre has received reports about local protests along with the impact on Assam.
The meeting is likely to consider putting a moratorium on any new dam as well as stop work on some existing dams till a cumulative impact assessment, a comprehensive biodiversity impact assessment and a downstream impact assessment is conducted, a source told TOI.

 
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