New Delhi, June 19 – With over 140 hydro-power projects allotted to various PSUs and private power companies in Arunachal Pradesh, newly appointed Chief Minister Kalikho Pul says the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having an electrified India can be fulfilled if all the allocated power projects in the northeastern border state are completed on time.
Arunachal Pradesh had the potential to fulfill the entire country’s requirement for power, Pul told in an interview.
He blamed “differences” among various ministries over clearance to a power project as the reason behind either stalling or slowing its commissioning during the last couple of years.
The 46-year old leader, who took over as chief of the small state with just 1.25 million population in February, said he feels the Central Government should set up a single window clearance system for companies participating in hydro power projects in Arunachal Pradesh.
“The upcoming hydro power projects in Arunachal Pradesh can fulfill Prime Minister Modi’s dream of having a electrified India. However, there is a difference in ideas between the various central ministries, which stall or slow the work on a project’s commissioning. There needs to be a single window clearance. There needs to be a push. There needs to be unanimity,” Pul told.
Besides, Pul said the Government should also increase the time period for loan pay back by private developers from 10 years to at least 25-30 years.
“Currently private developers have been given time of 10 years to repay the loan. But the duration has to be increased to 30 years, as a hydro project takes time for completion and functioning. At least 25-30 years should be given. Only then will they be able to carry out their work,” said Pul.
According to the union Power Ministry, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh has so far been allotted about 140 hydro-power projects with total installed capacity (IC) of 41,500 MW that is to be developed on various rivers, rivulets and nalas in seven major river basins.
Most of the projects, whose commissioning got delayed either due to delay in forest or river board clearance, if completed on time can provide power supply to a large chunk of India, which the other sources of power generation such as thermal and solar has not been able to do till now.
Pul said that before starting giant hydro power projects in Arunachal Pradesh, there was need to start minor projects of 1,000-2,000 MW capacity, which would help the people to appreciate how power projects can change their lives, thereby giving way for bigger projects.
A mega dam is being constructed across the river Siang, a tributary of the river Brahmaputra, and upon completion, the dam reservoir will hold 10 billion cubic meters of water. The hydro power project at Siang is touted to generate between 10,000 and 12,000 MW, making it the largest hydroelectric dam in the Indian subcontinent.
Emphasizing that China was using its hydro-power potential very efficiently, Pul said the various hurdles for project clearance need to be done away with.
China’s 22,000-megawatt, $25 billion Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric plant as far as generating capacity is concerned.
Expressing unhappiness at India’s role in setting up power projects in foreign countries, Pul said: “There have been instances when the Indian Government has set up power projects in foreign countries but not in Indian states. This is why those countries are becoming rich, and not us. It’s a shame for us.”
By Rupesh Dutta
(Rupesh Dutta can be contacted at Rupesh.firstname.lastname@example.org)