NHPC has been waiting for the Stage-I forest clearance for its 800 MW Tawang-II hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh. The project has already received the environment clearance and has also been concurred by Central Electricity Authority. The pending forest clearance is the only major constraint in project development at the moment.
In a review meeting with the power ministry, NHPC informed that application for diversion of 116.62 hectare of land was submitted to State forest department in July 2010. The State government forwarded the proposal to the environment ministry in September 2011. The proposal was discussed by the Forest Advisory Committee of the ministry in April 2012, September 2012 and January 2013.
In the meeting in January 2013, the Committee recommended the project for Stage-I forest clearance. However, formal forest clearance letter is awaited from the environment ministry. NHPC informed that it is learnt that the file is with the office of the environment minister for approval since April 18, 2013.
Tawang-II project has been proposed on River Tawangchu, in the downstream of Tawang-I hydroelectric project. The project envisages construction of four units of 200-mw each and expects to generate 3622 million units in a 90 per cent dependable year. Total cost for the project has been estimated at Rs. 6112.30 crore at May 2010 price level.
Meanwhile, forest clearance has also been pending for 600 MW Tawang-I hydroelectric project. However, the issue will only be taken up after completion of the cumulative biodiversity study of the Tawang basin being conducted by the Arunachal Pradesh government and North-Eastern Hill University. NHPC, along with the power ministry and Arunachal government, requested the environment ministry to delink basin studies from the forest clearance, However, the Forest Advisory Committee did not agree. The study is expected to be completed by next year, after which the issue will be considered by the Committee.