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Arunachal CM rebuts Jairam,sends SOS to PM: national interest at stake

Khandu has rebutted all major concerns expressed by Environment Minister over construction of hydel power projects in the state.

Written by Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi |
October 14, 2010 2:55:14 am

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rebutting all major concerns expressed by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh over the construction of hydel power projects in the state.

Khandu has asked the Prime Minister to ensure that Jairam’s ministry does not hold up environmental clearances for projects for want of cumulative basin-wise studies as suggested by the Minister. The letter does not name Jairam.

As reported last week by The Indian Express,Jairam had written to the PM demanding a comprehensive review of projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

In the letter dated September 16,he had raised several red flags,and highlighted the view of “some NGOs” that “we should not make Arunachal Pradesh a pawn in the race between India and China”. Jairam had sought a “moratorium on any further clearances for hydel projects in Arunachal Pradesh” since “these are bound to be the subject of agitation” in Assam.

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In his letter dated October 11,

Khandu has categorically stated that any delay in projects in Arunachal would not only adversely impact the development of the state,but may also end up hurting India’s national interest. Khandu has rebutted all of Jairam’s arguments regarding basin studies,downstream impact assessment study and dam safety,and highlighted benefits to the downstream area,particularly to Assam.

“All major rivers of Arunachal originate in China and flow to India… (There is) speculation that China can divert the Yarlong/Siang before it enters India. Therefore,speedy implementation of hydroelectric power projects in these rivers is of strategic importance to establish India’s first user rights. It is needless to mention that any undue delay in statutory clearances will affect the nation’s interest adversely,” Khandu has written.

“…It is important that projects in the North-Eastern region are appraised and cleared from the environmental and forest angle most expeditiously,” Khandu has said.

“May I request that the inter-ministerial group decision that MoEF will not hold up the environment clearance of individual projects presently under process for want of basin-wise studies should continue.”

Assam,Khandu has written,stands to benefit from flood regulation and power. He has given the example of the Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project,which Jairam mentioned in his letter to the PM.

“It was observed that as in case of Ranganadi HEP (405 MW) the projects provide positive benefit to downstream areas. It is estimated that a project of 1,000 MW capacity provides direct/indirect employment to 6,000 persons,” Khandu has written.

“Therefore,in total,the projects of Arunachal Pradesh will generate employment for approximately 3,42,000 persons. As Arunachal Pradesh will not be able to fulfill this demand,opportunities will be available to other states,mainly Assam. The projects would… boost up the economy and living standards of the people… (and) provide unparalleled opportunity to Assam for economic development.”

A delegation of three elected representatives from Arunachal Pradesh had yesterday met External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to seek his support for development works in the state “in the national interest”.

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