NHPC Subansiri project on track, first unit likely to be commissioned by 2022

  • According to a source in the know of the matter, the first unit of the project could be commissioned by 2022, if the progress goes as per the schedule

  • Subansiri lower hydroelectric project, with an installed capacity of 2,000 MW, will have eight units of 250 MW each

New Delhi: Work on India’s largest hydro project Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project has been on track and the COVID-19 situation has had a marginal impact on the progress, NHPC CMD AK Singh told PSU Watch on Monday. The news is significant because work on NHPC’s ambitious 2,000 MW project started in August 2019 after an over decade-long lull in the wake of several environmental litigations filed against the project. The construction of the project had started way back in 2007 but was suspended in 2011. 

Source: First unit likely to be commissioned by 2022

According to a source in the know of the matter, the first unit of the project could be commissioned by 2022, if the progress goes as per the schedule. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown has been little on the construction work because the construction happens only in summer and winter months… that is between October and June. Apart from the suspension of work during the nationwide lockdown, work has progressed with the easing of restrictions in two shifts instead of three. And now, the construction work is on hold because of the monsoon. Only underground work pertaining to tunnelling etc, is going on. So, the project is on schedule so far,” the source said.

Why has the dam not been completed?

Subansiri lower hydroelectric project, with an installed capacity of 2,000 MW, will have eight units of 250 MW each and an annual generation of 7421.59 Million Units (MU). It is located on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. However, the construction of the dam had been stalled since 2011 by environmental groups because of ecological concerns. Environmentalists had claimed that the dam will damage the ecosystem and lead to land loss. The hydropower project had been the subject of several litigations. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had formed an expert committee to review the design of the dam to reduce the environmental damage in downstream Assam. The dam had also received a clearance from the NGT.

“After a number of committees appraised the project and suggested remedial measures, all the technical apprehensions stand assuaged and legal hurdles cleared. NHPC is now set to resume the construction work of the project after the rainy season is over. NHPC is fully committed to completing the project with the support of local people,” NHPC had said in August 2019 at the commencement of the construction work.

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