Though the Central Government has reportedly geared up to resume construction work of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP), the fate of the project remains uncertain with the construction company of the project, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), filing a petition with the Eastern Zonal (EZ) Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking modification of the Tribunal Bench’s order of October 16, 2017 regarding construction of the project.
As per media reports, the application filed by the NHPC authorities was admitted by the NGT Bench on January 19. The NGT Bench based in Kolkata also fixed March 7, 2018 as the next date of hearing on the petition filed by the NHPC.
It may be mentioned that the Kolkata-based NGT Bench in an order issued on October 16, 2017, had asked the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to form a three-member committee to examine the technical issues regarding the construction of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project.
In its petition seeking modification of the NGT Bench’s order to constitute a new committee to examine the construction of LSHEP, the NHPC, which wants to resume the construction of the big dam on river Subansiri, stated that if the project is delayed further the project cost might go up beyond Rs 18,000 crore at April, 2017 price level. At the price level of December 2002, the project cost of LSHEP was estimated at Rs 6,285.33 crore.
Instead of forming a new committee, NHPC stated that the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change may be allowed to make an assessment of the technical aspects of the project.
NHPC informed the NGT Bench that more than Rs 9,610 crore has been invested in the big dam project till December 2017.