The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd. (NEEPCO) on Sunday issued a clarification over various apprehensions about the release of excess waters from its Ranganadi Hydroelectric plant in Arunachal Pradesh.
NEEPCO in its clarification said: “Ranganadi Hydroelectric Plant is a run-off-the river plant with a very little storage. Up to a certain inflow due to rainfall in the upper reaches of the Ranganadi plant, the reservoir can absorb the water.”
“However, whenever there is very heavy rainfall in the upper reaches, the excess water beyond the capacity of the storage capacity is passed through the gates,” said the clarification, issued by H. Bharali, head of corporate affairs & corporate communications, NEEPCO.
The water coming through the gate is only due to heavy rainfall which cannot be retained and there is no contribution of the Ranganadi plant in this regard, it said.
On the contrary, the plant reduces flood quantum of the river by diverting 160 cumecs of water to adjacent Pare basin, NEEPCO claimed.
NEEPCO claimed that “even in the absence of the Ranganadi plant, the same amount of water, if not more, would have flown in the river and reaches the downstream plains of Assam”.
The Ranganadi River has many tributaries; many of them are in the downstream of the dam.
So, all the water flows through the river and reaches Assam, it said.
“There is an incorrect perception that the flood in Lakhimpur is because of release of water from Ranganadi dam. Flood in Lakhimpur is not a new phenomenon and is happening much before the construction of this plant. It is purely due to heavy rainfall in the upper reaches of Lakhimpur only,” NEEPCO asserted.
Heavy rainfall in upper catchment has resulted in huge inflow in all the rivers of greater Lakhimpur area in recent days.
On June 5, 2021, due to flash flood in the upstream reaches of Ranganadi, in a span of one hour, the water inflow at Ranganadi increased from 91 cumecs at 1 pm to 420 cumecs at 2 pm, it said.
“After utilizing the full handling capacity of the reservoir, the remaining water was released into the river as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and observing full safety protocols and downstream warnings,” NEEPCO claimed.
“The district administration was alerted instantly. Flood warning and alert system devised through the North East Space Application Station (NESAC), ISRO, Government of India is in use at the plant,” NEEPCO official Bharali further said.
On Saturday, the rising waters of Ranganadi river swept away a bridge at Gobarisali.
Lakhimpur MP Pradan Baruah also expressed concern over the release of water from the Ranganadi dam.
Baruah requested Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to raise the issue with the Union power ministry.
“Huge water discharge by @NEEPCOlimited post heavy rains endangers Lakhimpur/catchment area of flooding. Ranganadi, tributaries flowing to brim. Proactive action by NEEPCO, armed with weather forecast, was needed. Requested Hon @himantabiswa for asap resolution with @MinOfPower,” he had tweeted.