Shin'yanagawara power stationNHPC’s 3000 MW Dibang hydroelectric project finally sees light of the day as environment clearance procedure moves ahead. The project was hanging fire for past few years due to pending public hearings for the project. With the public hearings successfully conducted in March this year, NHPC has submitted the environment clearance proposal to the environment ministry.

The public hearing for the project could not be earlier conducted even after several postponements due to local agitation. Due to this, NHPC had to submit fresh proposal to the environment ministry for approval of terms of reference (ToR) in May 2009. The ToR for the project was approved by the environment ministry in August 2009. Following this, NHPC submitted application to the Arunachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board for initiating the public hearing process in both valleys – Lower Dibang Valley and Dibang Valley. After the public hearing was conducted in March, the State Pollution Control Board submitted the proceedings of the hearings to the environment ministry. Following which, NHPC submitted the proposal for environment clearance.

The forest clearance for the project, pending for long, has also seen some significant developments in past few months. The application for diversion of 5056.5 hectare of forest land was submitted to the State government in January 2006. The State government forwarded the proposal to the environment ministry in August 2011 after formulation of compensatory afforestration scheme. The environment ministry recommended a site inspection by the ministry’s regional office. The visit was undertaken in February 2013. Following the visit, the regional office asked the State government to demarcate the sites for compensatory afforestration.

A second visit by the officials from the regional office was undertaken in April 2013. The report of the visit is yet to be submitted by the regional office to the environment ministry.

Due to the pending environment and forest clearance, NHPC has been unable to make progress on the implementation of the project. The project has been accorded concurrence by Central Electricity Authority and Public Investment Board has already recommended the project. However, the pending clearance has been a hindrance in further development of the project.

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