TODAY -

Hydro Electric Power Industry: A must for Manipur
- Part 4 -

N Shyamsundar Singh *

A file photo of Khuga Dam
A file photo of Khuga Dam :: Pix - TSE



Present Trend in the Hydro Power Development: Sustainable Development through integrated approach is the motto of the Planners & Developers today. This is achieved through extensive survey & investigation on various aspects of the project by Engineers, Material Scientists, Social Scientists, Environmentalist and hosts of technicians and surveyors from different disciplines.

Accordingly, the approach has been reviewed and technology has been improvised and updated to suit the requirements at site. Many a new Ministry and Department have been created in the Union Government to examine the Project proposals meticulously. At the same time, many more corporate bodies have also been formed in late seventies and early eighties with a view to expediting development of infrastructure projects in the country under Central /State/Joint Sector.

Besides good roads, reliable power supply and regular water supply, the project colonies where people from different communities and profession stay, normally have such other facilities as required in day to day life of each individual. For instance, school, play ground, health care centre, community hall, bank, post office and market complex, are also available as logistics in most of the hydro power plant sites.

Tourism Industry can also be developed suitably near a hydro electric power plan. These facilities eventually create avenues for propagating love and affection among the communities residing the project area. Gradually, the social growth, economic growth and cultural growth also take place. Thus the criteria of inclusive growth are always fulfilled.

Adequate provisions in the Acts, legislation and valuable directives of the Hon’ble Courts are already available now to make sure that one’s development work does not cause any kind of harm or damage to the environment and its biodiversity. .

Protection and management of environment must be given the same importance as given to the project work. In case of hydro power development, apart from the technical and financial reports, two more reports namely Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental management Plant (EMP) are also prepared and all of them form an integral part of the Detailed Project Report (DPR). The project cost consists of a substantial amount of money required for Compensatory Afforestation, Rehabilitation & Resettlement of affected villagers and Catchment Area Treatment etc. of the project.

Therefore, hydro power Development is always a part of sustainable development.

The basic question which needs threadbare discussion is whether the environment shall be maintained with project or without project. The simple answer is that, without project, the degradation has already begun, it is an-open for-all case and perhaps no authority has so far come to the rescue of the forest & environment. With project, general public can be motivated and made aware of the merits and demerits of large scale deforestation.

The damage control mechanism may be designed and adopted and for that financial support is also available. Therefore, what is needed most, is to strike balance between environment and development in such a way that the damage is controlled, loss is compensated and the benefit is optimized. All stakeholders shall co-operate and take part in it.

Conclusion:

1. No major economic transformation has been possible without perceptible contributions made by industrial sector. Therefore, the State of Manipur must have suitable industries.

2. Hydro Electric Power Industry is the only technically and commercially viable industry for a land locked State like Manipur. It can not only support the economy of the State but also ensure energy security for future generation.

3. Hydro Electric Power is a renewable energy source; therefore the ultimate choice enjoys the support of the natural RE sources and the imperatives of the national initiatives It also helps the authority promote Tourism.

4. Development experience has shown lack of sincerity, commitment and conviction on the part of the implementing agencies for the maintenance and management of Loktak Lake.

5. Extensive studies, analyses and on the spot verification would be needed to ascertain the reasons attributing to the deterioration of the environment and loss of ecosystem values of the precious lake so that renewed efforts are made collectively to mitigate, restore and retain the lake within a shortest possible time.

6. Physical survey and demarcation of the boundary of the lake may be given top priority. Technology is readily available now to carry out the contour survey and measure the areas at different levels within short duration.

7. The responsibilities for opening the Gates at Ithai Barrage lie mainly with state agencies

8. Many lakes and water bodies have disappeared in Manipur over the last couple of decades. The simple reason is that the lakes and water bodies are left to the mercy of several corrupt, influential and squatters who enjoy political patronage.

9. Even the Loktak Lake which receives threats constantly from encroachers might have met the same fate had the Loktak HE Project not been there. Therefore, anybody who really loves the Lake and its environs must not let it be another victim of the menace of encroachment.

10. The present trend in Hydro Power Development fulfils the criteria for sustainable development and inclusive growth.

11. Maintenance and management of environment without project is not easy as it is an open-for-all case and no authority has so far come to the rescue of the forest and environment.

12. With project, general public can be motivated and made aware of the merits and demerits of large scale deforestation. The damage control mechanism may be designed and adopted and for that, financial support is also available in the project.

13. What is needed most is to strike balance between environment and development.

14. For achieving the goal, the following are also badly needed – i) Strong determination and commitment of the public leaders; ii) The Government company holding the charge of Power Sector to acquire the character of a competitive industrial enterprise having business and commercial motive, not merely of a public utility and iii) Assured social and administrative commitment to peace and co­operation of all kinds.

Each of the above points may need further debate. However, the goal is identified ‘To make Manipur, a peaceful, well integrated and self reliant State”. It is common for all; we unite and stand for it. The difference in the approach, if any, may be sorted out and addressed jointly by all technological means. Therefore, the need of the hour is that we invite all concerned, join hands and find the best way forward.

Concluded....


* N Shyamsundar Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is former Chairman, Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for Manipur & Mizoram
This article was posted on October 05, 2017.


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