A YEAR after the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) gave its nod to the strategic Tawang II hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has cleared it.
The 800 MW, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation project has been pending with the MoEF since 2011. After the FAC gave its approval in January last year, then environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan did not clear it. But, days after taking over, new minister Veerappa Moily has agreed with the FAC’s recommendations, granting State I forest clearance to the project, said highly placed sources.
With China announcing three new hydroelectric projects on the river Brahmaputra early last year, the Centre has been keen on pushing the Tawang project.
The Tawang project will require diversion of 116 hectares forest land, including 19.6 hectares for underground use. It is proposed to be set up on the Tawangchu river, downstream of Forebridge near Jang in Arunachal Pradesh.
Expected to cost Rs 6,112.30 crore as per May 2010 estimates, the project is likely to benefit all states in the Northeast, promising annual power generation of 3,622 million units.
Meanwhile, the other major hydel project proposed in Aruncahal Pardesh — the 3,000 MW Dibang project — is yet to find favour with the MoEF. While the FAC had rejected the project earlier, the state government had sought that it should be “reconsidered”.
It is now learnt that the FAC has suggested that the proposal be revised so that the forest area to be diverted is reduced considerably.