NHPC to start work on Dibang hydel power project, bordering China

Besides generating 2880 MW hydel power, the 278 metre high concrete dam will also help contain the flood fears in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam

Dibang hydel power project

New Delhi: Ground work to execute the long-abandoned yet largest hydro-electric project of the country, Dibang multi-purpose project in Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China, will start soon.

The ministry of new and renewable energy has approved ₹1,600 crore to the State-owned hydropower giant, NHPC Ltd, for pre-clearance activities and on getting various essential clearances to the 2,880 mega watt (MW) project, announced the company in a statement to the stock exchange on Tuesday.

The NHPC Ltd further said that the government has okayed budgetary support of ₹6,159.40 crore towards flood moderation component and ₹556.15 crore towards enabling infrastructure (roads/ bridges etc.) to start construction.

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already sanctioned the expenditure on pre-investment activities and various clearances for the project in Arunachal. The estimated cost of the project has been revised to ₹31,876 from earlier estimate of ₹28,082 crore and it may take around nine years of the NHPC Limited to complete the project on the receipt of all clearances from various government’s agencies.

“The project shall generate 2880 MW (12x240MW) power to produce 11223 MU of energy in a 90% dependable year. This is the largest ever hydro electric projects to be constructed in India. The dam is 278 metres high and will be the highest dam in India once completed,” a statement of the NHPC said.

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The project which is located on river Dibang, in lower Dibang Valley district of the state. On completion, the government of Arunachal Pradesh will get 12% free power from the project. One per cent free power will be given in local area development fund (LADF). The total value of benefit to Arunachal Pradesh from free power and contribution to LADF will be ₹26,785 crore over the project life of forty years.

Dibang Multipurpose Project (Dibang MPP) is envisaged as a storage-based hydro-electric project with flood moderation as the key objective. The construction of Dibang MPP shall prevent the sizeable downstream area from floods. After implementation of the master plan of Brahmaputra Board for flood moderation of all rivers contributing to river Brahmaputra, of which Dibang MPP is one of the component, sizable area will be protected from flooding and help in mitigating the perennial damage due to floods in Assam, the statement further said.

The project has received all statutory clearances including environment clearance, forest clearance (Stage-1) and defence clearance except forest clearance (Stage-ll) for seeking investment sanction from the central government.

Foundation of Dibang power project laid in 2008

Visualising great potential of electricity in the river, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone of the project in 2008. The project was assigned to the NHPC Ltd. However, there was little progress in the project owing to the massive opposition from the local tribal population over their displacement, deforestation and loss of community land besides causing concern in international circles over its huge environment cost in a biodiversity-rich Himalayan zone.

The delay was also because the forest advisory committee (FAC) of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEF&CC) rejected it in July 2013, and again in April 2014, taking note of a slew of discrepancies in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports and the state government’s proposals.

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