Ghatowar allays big dam fears

Shillong, July 26 (PTI) Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Pawan Singh Ghatowar today advocated for hydel projects in North-East citing the growing demand for power and said the concerns of the people living in the downstream areas of the dams will be addressed while constructing the mega projects."Experts are looking into all angles before planning a project. The government is concerned about the security and livelihood of the people living in the downstream areas. The government will ensure that these people are well-protected," Ghatowar said amid increasing protesting over big dams in Assam.NHPC-executed Lower Subansiri project has run into rough weather in the wake of mass protests led by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) over apprehensions that it would jeopardise the lives and livelihoods of a large number of people in the downstream areas besides impacting the environment. The government, however, is adamant on carrying forward the project.The Rs 6,400-crore 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Project is situated in Gerukamukh in Assam-Arunachal border and is one of the mega projects being developed in the country.Ghatowar, on his maiden visit to North Eastern Council secretariat here after being inducted as MoS DoNER in the last reshuffle, said power is the core requirement for development and that there was "nothing new in harnessing hydro-power which is being done all over the world"."North-East is the power house of the country and the region has the maximum avenues of for harnessing hydro-power which is eco-friendly and economical. We have to harness the opportunity given by nature in the region. It is a perennial source of power," Ghatowar said.He said the concerns expressed by the protesting organisations are being "looked into".