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Organized by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development & the Society of Indian Law Firms

Organized by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development & the Society of Indian Law Firms

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Organized by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development & the Society of Indian Law Firms

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  1. Are Large Dams the Way to go in North Eastern India? PLENARY SESSION 1 Integrating sustainability into large civil construction projects: Legal & Policy dimensions New Delhi July 25, 2008 Organized by CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development & the Society of Indian Law Firms 1

  2. Key Propositions Vision of Dams should support economic and social progress and be environmentally sustainable. Projects should recognize entitlements, sustain livelihoods and environment and share benefits Mega Dams should be developed in an optimal manner and include multipurpose use. Storage schemes is critical to India’s water needs, flood control and drought control Environment Clearance should be comprehensive and mean more than legal compliance. Contentious issues must be identified and thoroughly investigated in advance of any final commitment to the project 2

  3. Key Propositions 4. Comprehensive Sectoral Environmental Assessment and Basin development must be taken in its entirity and Site Selection must focus on identifying better dams 5. Government should take responsibility of EIA studies and the resulting mitigation/resettlement plans before Utility developer get involved 6. Where large dams are the only viable proposition, they should be supported. However, if Small Hydro Projects offer better solutions, they should be favored over large dams. Further, Government to take a call whether new dams need to be built at all ! 3

  4. THE CONTEXT • India is the third largest dam constructor in the world – 3000 large dams • 45,000 large dams on the world’s rivers. Further, 1600 are under construction in 40 countries (source: International Commission of Large Dams) • Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making, Nov 2000 by World Commission on Dams found that “though dams have made an important and significant contribution to human development, in too many cases an unacceptable and often unnecessary price has been paid to secure those benefits, especially in social and environmental terms.” 4

  5. THE CONTEXT Large Dams – • 15 m above the lowest portion of the general foundation area to the crest level • 10 to 15 m may also be considered large if • length of crest of the dam to be not less than 500 m; • capacity of reservoir formed by dam to be not less than 1 mn cc m; • maximum flood discharge dealt with by the dam to be not less than 2000 cubic m/sec; • dam has specially difficult foundation problems; dam is of unusual design Source: International Commission of Large Dams 5

  6. THE CONTEXT Hydel Projects (Classification based on installed capacity) • Micro: up to 100 KW • Mini: up to 101 KW to 2 MW • Small: 2 MW to 25 MW • Mega: > 500 MW (350 MW for J&K, Sikkim and NE) More than 25 MW – Ministry of Power Up to 25 MW – Ministry of New and Renewable Energy 6 Source: NHPC India

  7. THE CONTEXT • Economically exploitable hydro power potential of India is around 1, 50,000 MW (84,000 MW at 60% load factor) Present 32,326 MW (2006)1. Only 19.9 % of this potential has been exploited 2 • The NE region has vast water resources including tremendous hydel power potential – only 8% of its 63,257 MW potential being harnessed. This potential is also highly concentrated, with 50,000 MW located in Arunachal Pradesh. • The PM’s 50,000 MW Hydroelectric Initiative2003 proposes to bring on line installed capacity of about 50,000 MW through 162 projects in 16 states by 2017. 7 Source: 1Planning Commission India 2 Source: NHPC India

  8. THE CONTEXT • 72 out of 162 schemes totaling to 31,885 mw are in the Northeast • With 42 schemes with 27,293 mw capacity is in Arunachal Pradesh and has emerged as the new centre of massive dam building in the country, being heralded as the ‘power house’ of India. • As of September 2007, Arunachal Pradesh has signed 39 MOUs to generate 24,471 MW, with both public and private sector developers that include companies like NHPC, NEEPCO, Reliance Energy, Jayprakash Associates, GMR Energy and several others. • Most are mega projects of up to 3000 MW 8

  9. THE CONTEXT In its blue print on strategy to increase power supply, the 123 Agreement states: “Hydro-power is clean but not always green because large dams can destroy our natural habitat and displace people” Livemint (July 22) quotes Power sector review panel headed by the PM “long time was taken for environment and forest clearances and there was a need to shorten the time frame for grant of the clearance”. Thereafter, nodal officers have been appointed to expedite these clearances. 9

  10. THE CONTEXT • A 2005 World Bank Report on strategic issues for the water sector in India has given the thumbs up to this region as "worlds most environmentally and socially benign sites for hydro power." • The Report does not take in to account the following: • The social impact on vulnerable ethnic minorities with distinct identities and customs, dependent directly on land, forests and rivers for their sustenance • Ecological fragility of the region and impact on wildlife, rich and rare flora and fauna • seismic activity /young mountains prone to landslides that trigger flash floods • Impact on lower riparian people – on disruption of natural flows, on downstream wetlands (beels), resultant disruption of livelihoods of tribes 10

  11. THE CONTEXT At the same time given environmental concerns about fossil fuels and volatility of oil prices, hydro potential should be exploited: • Hydro electricity is a renewable energy • Provides cheaper electricity – Rs. 2.50/unit average • Dams can be multi-purpose projects with added benefits for irrigation and flood control • Hydro Projects has a very long life and can meet sudden increases/decreases in demand for power 11

  12. THE CONTEXT • Hydro power projects are long term, capital intensive investments • Several constraints – technical (inadequate geological investigations, outdated tunneling methods); projects in relatively young Himalayan mountains – geological surprises; and recently tougher EIA compliance requirements • Against this backdrop – GOI is trying to attract private participation in hydro projects • Independent Power Producers (IPPs) look for commercial viability – ability to raise funding and generate profits 12

  13. THE CONTEXT • Over years, environmental issues are taking centre stage and because of pressure from anti dam groups, international lenders and guarantee agencies are reluctant to finance them • IPPs resort to non recourse or project financing and to achieve financial closure risk allocation has to be determined • Significant determinant for bankability and financial closure • responsibility for Environmental mitigation measures and resettlement Clearance, and • possible late interference and unforeseen costs or delays arising from environmental issues, and problems with land and water rights 13

  14. Legal & Regulatory Compliance • The framework of regulatory, institutional and technical measures should aim at ensuring quality of assessment, predictability and transparency • Social and environmental impacts should be controlled, alleviated or mitigated • Ensuring public trust and confidence requires that Governments, developers, regulators and operators meet all commitments made for the planning, implementation and operation of dams Source: Dams & Development: World Commission on Dams, 2000 14

  15. Legal & Regulatory Compliance • Site Clearance: technological, geological, seismological, topographical, archaeological and demographical information on the project site, the catchment and the command area. • displacement: if a project is seen to displace too large a population, then it is often not considered worthy of site clearance. • wildlife impacts: clearance from Indian Board for Wildlife if any denotification of a sanctuary or national park • Cultural heritage – archaeological and religious sites • Alternate land sites – forest lands? 15

  16. Legal & Regulatory Compliance Environmental Clearance (EC) Union MoEF Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – River Valley Projects of more than 50 MW hydroelectric power generation and 10,000 ha. Of culturable command area (Category A) State Environment Impact Assessment Authority constituted by Centre – Projects of 25 to 50 MW and 10,000 ha. Of culturable command area (Category B) Projects specified in category B will be treated as category A if located in whole or in part within 10 kms from the boundary of (i) protected areas under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972; (ii) critically polluted areas as notified by the Central Pollution control Board; (iii) Notified Eco-sensitive areas; (iv) inter state boundaries and international boundaries. 16

  17. Legal & Regulatory Compliance Risk Assessment – dam break (earthquake) ; dam induced floods; landslides. Central Electricity Authority grants technical approval only after adequate safeguards are in- built. Public Health – large water bodies create breeding ground for diseases Environment Management Plan – all EIAs require an Environment Management Plan (EMP) for the formulation, implementation and monitoring of environmental protection measures during and after the commissioning of the project. 17

  18. Legal & Regulatory Compliance • National Rehabilitation & Resettlement Policy 2007 (R&R) • Spirit of R&R should go beyond mere compensation • Adverse impact on PAF – economic, environmental, social and cultural – needs to be assessed in a participatory and transparent manner • There should be effective monitoring and grievance redressal mechanism • Care should be taken - Rural poor, marginal farmers, women, indigenous and tribal peoples suffer disproportionate levels of displacement • Mandatory Public Hearing: EIA, EMP and the resettlement plan should be made available to public and opportunity given to speak 18

  19. Outstanding Deficiencies • Poor environmental and social impact assessment • 405 MW (68 m high dam) Ranganadi Hydro Electric Project (RHEP) [run-of-river scheme] Stage I, in Lower Subansiri District was commissioned in 2002 • Ranganadi river has been reduced to a trickle downstream of the dam – irrigation channels dried up • Apatanis, Nishis & hill Miris • Means of livelihood gone - Pisciluture and horticulture • Downstream flash floods caused by release of large quantities of water in the river without warning/ inadequate warning • Downstream social impacts can exceed upstream resettlement upheavals 19

  20. Outstanding Deficiencies • Poor environmental and social impact assessment • When the people complained to North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO, the company that has built the dam), its response was the issuing of a circular on 2nd June 2006 that warned: • "... the gates of Ranganadi diversion dam may require opening from time to time ... all villages, individuals, temporary settlers etc. residing on the banks of river and other nearby areas ... on the downstream of the dam to refrain from going to the river and also to restrict their pet animals too from moving around the river ... the corporation will not take any responsibility for any loss of life of human, pet animals etc. and damage of property and others ..." 20

  21. First Wave of Flash Flood: Excess Water released from Ranganadi Dam without prior warningJune 14, 2008 NEEPCO “there is no way to get prior warning in respect of increased in flow; natural flood occurring upstream of the project cannot be absorbed by the small reservoir and excess after has to be released.”Heavy Siltation is causing abnormal rise in the surface of rivers such as Ranganadi, Dikrong and Singra. This kind of flash floods regular feature since 1998.

  22. District North Lakhimpur: Submerged NH-52

  23. District Lakhimpur Submerged Villages near NH-52

  24. Flood water touches Roof of House

  25. Local people using Banana tree for transportation

  26. Evacuation of School children

  27. Flood water reaches to PWD Rural Road

  28. Outstanding Deficiencies Villages Affected – 347 Population Affected – 3,01,325 Area Affected – 75,195 ha Houses damaged – 51,220 Value – 51.22 crores (Approx) Damage to crop area – 22,225 ha Value – 5,55,265 Human lives lost – 8 Cattle lives lost – 7525 Damage to Public Utilities – 18 Value – 83.25 lacs 29

  29. Brahmaputra & its Upper Tributaries

  30. Source: Planning Commission 2006

  31. Outstanding Deficiencies Poor environmental and social impact assessment 520 kms River Subansiri, a major tributary of River Brahmaputra. Drainage area up to its confluence of Brahmaputra is 37,000 sq. km. of which 10,000 sq. km. lies in Assam and 19,199 sq. km in Arunachal Pradesh. 3 projects have been identified in the Subansiri river basin. MoEF has not given site clearance for Upper Subansiri project as while clearing the lower Subansiri project MoEF said that ‘there will be no construction of dam on the Subansiri river in future.’ NBWL heard NHPC in May 2008 on Cumulative Environmental Impacts of Subansiri Lower, Middle and Upper Projects. 32

  32. Outstanding Deficiencies • Poor environmental and social impact assessment • NHPC 2000 MW (116 m high) [ Rs. 6285 crores] Lower Subansiri Hydro- Electric Project, Gerukamukh, Lower Subansiri (AP)/ Dhemaji (Assam) Districts • EIA cleared July 2003 (with changes) (EIA report prepared by WAPCOS records landholding of PAF as 960.11 ha but surprisingly the R&R plan allocates 1 ha land to each PAF. • Assam Government has complained about illegal constructions on forest lands prior to clearance under Forest Conservation Act/dumping of debris in the river • Though 38 families from 2 villages were displaced, belong to the Gallong (Adis) tribe dependent on jhum rice cultivation and the forests (medicinal plant, wild foods) for their livelihood. • Dam height was halved as it was found that Daporijo and Along townships with 5000 people each were to be submerged. 33

  33. Outstanding Deficiencies • Poor environmental and social impact assessment • Lack of meaningful and effective hearing – local people are steamrolled in to acquiescence • Important biodiversity hotspot, home of two Endemic birds, huge areas Reserve Forests (in Assam and AP) and some areas of Tale Wildlife Sanctuary will be submerged; important elephant corridors will be affected – EIA report glosses over these facts – no biotic survey was done (M. Firoz Ahmed of Aaranyak) Downstream Ecological, Social & Livelihood Impacts ignored: • Subansiri recharges wetlands (Beels) crucial for fishing and deep water rice cultivation (Baodhan). Mishing tribe depend on this (Kalpavriksh) • Serious concerns of flash floods persists – Lakhimpur district and Majuli districts. 34

  34. Outstanding Deficiencies • Poor environmental and social impact assessment • NHPC’s 3000 MW (288 m high) Dibang Multi-purpose project , Lower Dibang Valley District • PM laid the Foundation stone on February, 2008 • Idu Mishmis, Adis, Mishing, Galo tribes/ Mehao Wildlife sanctuary • Public hearings stalled dues to local protests • Proposal for diversion of forest land pending • Reliance Power’s 1000 MW (188m high) Middle Siang project • NHPC EIA clearance on Mar 2005 • Challenged before the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) • Pending before Delhi High Court • Fresh Assessments being done 35

  35. Way Forward • Each dam site is unique but there is clear need for comprehensive sectoral Environmental Assessment and Basin development in its entirity • infrastructural development should be integrated with flood management, canals/command areas development works, watershed management works and so on • If large dams are being built, they should include flood management cushion as well • small, run-of-the-river dams should be a development choice - they are free from many of the environmental problems associated with mega dams • Further, generation from already existing dams with addition of upstream reservoirs should be chosen over new constructions 37

  36. Way Forward • EIA needs to be strengthened and process should be made transparent, inclusive and acceptable to local stakeholder groups • Move away from mere legal compliance and internalize environmental and social costs in economic cost benefit analysis. Government should play a key role • Conservation should receive central focus. Embrace good mitigation measures. Hydro Projects must invest in the source of their raw material by catchment conservation, biodiversity, watershed management. • PAF must be better off promptly under R&R schemes. Allocate a fraction of all power project proceeds to social and environmental needs in perpetuity – PAFs become stakeholders 38

  37. Way Forward • Why Small Hydro Projects (SHP)? • Reliable, eco‑friendly, mature and proven technology • More suited for the sensitive mountain ecology • Does not involve setting up of large dams or problems of deforestation, submergence or rehabilitation • Can be exploited wherever sufficient water flows ‑ along small streams, medium to small rivers • Non‑polluting, entails  no waste  or production of   toxic gases, environment friendly • Small capital investment and short gestation period 39

  38. Way Forward • NE Vision 2020 – harnessing 40% of hydel potential; Small and mini hydel projects (potential 2112 MW; current 267 MW ) up to 1 MW capacity for distant hill areas • Hydro Power Policy 2008 - 2% of Capacity Addition of 1400 MW by 2012 should come from Small Hydro Power (SHP) • Effective and meaningful coordination and consensus building within GOI and/bw State Govts - DONER should taken central role in coordinating • Arunachal Pradesh’s potential as a ‘ power house’ can be fully optimized through small projects 40

  39. Assam says no to mega dams in Arunachal, Gogoi to approach PM Indian Express July 25, 2008 Page no.6 Guwahati, July 24: The Assam Government today said a big “no” to the proposed construction of mega dams on the Siang and several other rivers in Arunachal Pradesh, and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said he would take up the matter with the Prime Minister. “The Prime Minister, too, is not in favour of big dams. I am trying to convince my Arunachal Pradesh counterpart of the hazards caused by big dams,” Gogoi said here on Thursday. Gogoi’s statement comes in the wake of an allegation made by leaders in Arunachal Pradesh that the Assam government did not properly brief new Assam Governor Shiv Charan Mathur about the need for having big dams in the region. Within hours of taking charge earlier this month, Mathur voiced his vehement opposition to the construction of mega dams in the Northeast. “I am totally with the Governor on this issue. The Governor is absolutely right in opposing big dams. Big dams in Arunachal Pradesh will not solve our flood problems. In fact, they will do more harm than good. We will have to convince Arunachal Pradesh of this,” Gogoi said. The Assam Chief Minister said Arunachal Pradesh must understand that the hill state would not only see the displacement of communities but also the destruction of forests and the environment due to the construction of big dams. “I have already set up a high-powered expert committee to look into what damage the dams already constructed in Arunachal Pradesh have caused to Assam,” Gogoi said. “I am for small dams that do not have any risk given the high seismicity of the Northeastern region,” Chief Minister Gogoi said. NGOs and environmental groups in Assam and other Northeastern states have been campaigning against big dams pointing to their adverse impact on the region’s biodiversity. The Assam Government, last week, asked Centre to study the cumulative damage that the state was likely to suffer if big dams were erected in the neighbouring state. 41

  40. THANK YOU Ms. Krishna Sarma Managing Partner CORPORATE LAW GROUP 1106-1107, Kailash Building, 26, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-110001 Tel : 91-11-43621000 (100 Lines) Mob : 91-9811734567 Fax : 91-11-23357721 Email: