Arunachal Chief Minister Kalikho Pul today said that the hydropower would be developed in an optimal manner, in which, the environmental impact and human displacement would be reduced to the absolute minimal possible and positive outcomes are achieved in the shortest possible time.
He said this while delivering his inaugural address at a conference ‘Hydro power at crossroads – tapping the untapped’, organized by Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM).
Stating hydropower as the only viable source for the resource strapped state, the chief minister said it could provide sustainable means of livelihood to the youths through jobs and other income activities generated from development of hydropower sector.
Also, he said the state government would involve all stakeholders and take the local residents into confidence and dispel any misgivings that they may have on account of resettlement due to the hydropower projects. The endeavour would be to create conditions that will foster eco-friendly and people-friendly growth, said the CM.
In achieving investor friendly environment, he said the state was willing to relax entry tax to protect the interest of the investor in cutting down the labour and construction costs wherever necessary. Also he asserted the state government would work to improve investment climate in the state and appealed to the hydropower investors to invest in the State “without any apprehensions”.
The CM urged the support of the financial institutions and the Government of India to help the State achieve its hydropower potential assuring that the state government was willing to extend all necessary cooperation and assistance.
Underlying the importance of hydropower, he said that with volatile international energy prices and heightened concerns over carbon emissions, there is an increasing focus on developing a cleaner and greener energy basket. In a nation endowed with huge natural resources, and particularly Arunachal Pradesh with its 58,000MW hydropower potential, this is but a natural choice, said the CM.
To fast track clearance processes at State level, the CM assured to provide all support to developers for installing and commissioning of hydropower plants with facilities of single window clearance. This would be operated through Chief Secretary with quarterly meetings to expedite the clearance process. Also he assured that all requirements of local coordination would be fast tracked and that there would be no barriers to investors.
The CM, however, pointed out serious concerns that holds up most hydropower projects like long construction periods, lack of transport infrastructure, environmental concerns and geological risks, including environmental and other clearances.
He urged the centre to give favourable push for hydropower to increase its share in the nation’s electricity-mix, where today the thermal power accounts for more than 70 per cent. The CM pointed out that such scenario is not good when steps to mitigate emissions of green house gases is to be seriously considered.
In this direction, the CM urged that share of hydropower in the electricity mix needs to be raised substantially and that ministry of power may setup a green energy corridor to evacuate hydropower generation from Arunachal and northeastern region.
Earlier Chief Secretary Shakuntala Gamlin in her brief speech informed that Arunachal government would conduct an investor conference in the state shortly and urged all the stakeholders to participate in it.
ASSOCHAM Secretary General DS Rawat and Deputy Chief of Mission Embassy of Norway in India Sigvald T Hauge also spoke on the occasion
The chief minister was accompanied by Power Minister TN Thongdok and Parliamentary Secretary for hydropower Phosum Khimhun.