Through the column of your daily, I would like to draw immediate attention of the State Govt, Union Govt and the Power Developers alike regarding the various Power Projects proposed with regards to West Siang District. There was a time when every sane man across the state was amazed at the pace with which the then State Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh went on a MoA/MoU signing spree with various Power developers both Private & Semi-Govt. for tapping the vast hydropower reserves across the state. As per documents obtained from the Department of Hydropower, GoAP, there are a total of 16 Power projects proposed to be developed in West Siang District whose total power generation capacity (proposed) is 4267 MW. Of these 16, the MoA’s for 4 projects viz Naying, Hirong, Siyom & Tato-ll all of which are proposed on Siyom River were signed as early as 22nd Feb 2006.
The latest MoA signed was that for Pitgong-ll on 20th Sep 2013. In comparison to other parts of the country, the projects in West Siang district have faced very minimal or almost no opposition barring few. After going through the latest status of these projects which have been allotted to reputed power developers, yours truly was shocked to find out that most of these projects were under various stages of clearances while some of them had not yet even obtained TEC (Techno-economic clearances). I do remember an interaction I had few years ago with a Chief engineer of a works department who had divulged that there were large numbers of unemployed engineering graduates in the state. Not surprisingly, the highest being from West Siang. The numbers must have substantially increased over the years as large numbers of students graduating annually have increased manifolds. One can only wonder as to why not a single one of these projects have made to fail a head start even after passing of 10 long years. Imagine the number of unemployed youths that shall be absorbed in these projects. Being from West Siang District I do feel like me, there are many in our area that are optimistic about the socio-economic prospects these projects shall bring to the people even if single one of it gets operational in due course of time. Hydropower development and economic progress are closely inter-linked.
One can clearly see that the development of hydropower in Norway propelled its industrial and economic development. Even the neighboring Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has made strategic move over the years to achieve economic development by harnessing its hydropower potential. The country has formulated serious reforms in the energy sector to capitalize on its vast potential for hydropower generation. With capital-intensive hydropower projects in the pipeline, Bhutan is expected to witness financial boom in the coming years.
We talk about job creation, revenue generation, infrastructure develo-pment……but are we doing enough??? When other Himalayan states like Uttrakhand, Sikkim etc have taken the hydropower route to secure their economic interests why should we be left behind? Yours truly personally feels that both the Union & State Govt. should give a serious thought about non-operationalisation of these projects in West Siang District. Further, a concrete policy should also be adopted by the state govt for development of hydropower in the state. Where Power Projects are not facing any opposition, I don’t see any reason for not going ahead with the projects. However, concerns of the locals including those residing at the downstream should be properly addressed.
Secretary Debate, Symposium
& Seminar, AAPSU