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India's Hydropower Plans In Arunachal Pradesh Raise Concerns Amid Flood Threat

Amidst Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia on July 9, 2024, a significant domestic development has surfaced — India’s plan to invest $1 billion in hydropower plants in Arunachal Pradesh. This initiative comes amidst a tense border dispute with China, overshadowing the dire situation unfolding in Assam due to relentless floods. Hydropower Investment Amid […]

India's Hydropower Plans In Arunachal Pradesh Raise Concerns Amid Flood Threat
India's Hydropower Plans In Arunachal Pradesh Raise Concerns Amid Flood Threat

Amidst Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia on July 9, 2024, a significant domestic development has surfaced — India’s plan to invest $1 billion in hydropower plants in Arunachal Pradesh. This initiative comes amidst a tense border dispute with China, overshadowing the dire situation unfolding in Assam due to relentless floods.

Hydropower Investment Amid Border Tensions

According to a critical report from Reuters, India is gearing up to pour $1 billion into hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh. This move aims to bolster India’s renewable energy capacity but has sparked concerns over its potential impact on downstream regions, particularly Assam.

 

Flood Toll Rises in Assam

Simultaneously, Assam has been grappling with escalating casualties from floods, which have claimed 79 lives since May. The situation is exacerbated by the existing dams in Arunachal Pradesh, which release surplus water when nearing capacity, posing a constant threat to downstream areas like Assam.

 

Impending Catastrophe Feared

Experts warn of a looming disaster if any of the proposed dams in Arunachal Pradesh were to fail catastrophically. The devastating 2021 incident at the Tapovan Vishnugad Hydroelectric Project serves as a grim reminder of the destructive power of such failures, claiming over 150 lives in a flash flood.

 

Government’s Revival of Hydro Projects

In August last year, the Indian government, in collaboration with the Arunachal Pradesh government, initiated efforts to revive and launch 12 stalled hydroelectric power projects in the state. These projects, with a combined capacity of approximately 11,517 MW, are seen as crucial to achieving India’s renewable energy goals and reducing carbon emissions.

 

Challenges and Environmental Concerns

Initially assigned to private developers around 15 years ago, these projects faced numerous setbacks. Their revival is part of India’s commitment to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution targets and aim for Net Zero carbon emissions by 2070. However, environmentalists and local communities raise concerns about the potential ecological impact and the safety of downstream populations.

As India pushes forward with ambitious hydropower plans in Arunachal Pradesh, the dual challenges of environmental sustainability and disaster preparedness loom large. The government’s efforts to balance energy security with ecological responsibility will be closely scrutinized amidst ongoing tensions and humanitarian crises in the region.

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Arunachal PradeshFloodhydropower projectsModi Russia visit 2024TDGThe Daily Guardian