NEW DELHI: Concerned over green issues "hijacking" potential growth in hydropower sector, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki has asked the Centre to take proactive steps for expediting early environmental clearance to power projects.
Tuki said Arunachal Pradesh, which has the potential of producing 58,000 MW of hydropower or 40 per cent of India's total assessed potential, has harnessed only one per cent of this due to regulatory constrains arriving out of environmental concerns and laws.
"In India, though there has been a laudable progress in hydropower sector through the first 50 years after independence, of late the environmental concerns seems to have been hijacked by some activists by taking a very myopic stance with benefits to no one.
"A large amount of focus has been on the negative aspects only. Less account has been taken of the benefits of hydropower and the knowledge and willingness which exists within the expertise to anticipate, mitigate or compensate for the negative aspects," he said while addressing a function on power sector here.
The Chief Minister said over the last two decades, development of hydropower sector has been faced with the controversies of environmental and social effects which need
to be addressed.
These competing and sometimes conflicting policy objectives need to be harmonised so as to achieve the highest levels of economic growth while ensuring equity and justice to
one and all, he said.
Tuki said whether it is the state, or the public or the hydropower industries - none is gaining from this tirade of negativity.
One such example is the 2,000 MW NHPC Subansiri Lower HEP - the works of which have been stopped by certain organisations of Assam for many months now, he said.
"We expect a proactive approach from agencies such as Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change to rationalise the norms for expediting early environment and forest clearances," he said.
The Chief Minister said with India embarking on the mission 'Make in India', there is very limited time in expanding and sustainable harnessing the hydropower potential.
Tuki said harnessing the potential of Arunachal Pradesh will trigger an investment of about Rs 4-5 lakh crore, which will lead to increased industrial growth, employment generation, besides catering to the power requirement of the country as well as some of its neighbours.
"A concerted effort of one and all including the central government, the state governments and the power developers has to be ensured for full growth of this sector," he said.
Arunachal Pradesh has eight river basins of which Subansiri, Lohit and Siang are of strategic importance, as they are closer to the border with China.