Government admits militant threat at Kopili Hydro Electric Project

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New Delhi, Mar 14 (UNI) The Government today admitted that the 275 Mega Watts (MW) Kopili Hydro Electric Project located in North Cacher Hills district of Assam has been receiving continuous demands and threats from various militant groups.

This was informed by the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

He said this project site is surrounded by dense forest from all sides and comprises three power stations of capacities 4x 50 MW (Kopili-I), 2x25 MW (Khandong) and one 25 MW (Kopili-II).

The three power stations and the various installations are located at a distance of 15 to 25 Kms from the project headquarter at Umrongso.

The project is sensitive from the security point of view as various militant groups are operating in the area, he added.

Mr Shinde said that after a militant attack on the shift duty personnel of NRRPCO on February 11, this year, the generation from the power station has been temporarily affected. The 200 MW Kopili-I power station had to be shutdown from February 12 to 21, this year.

While the 50 MW Khandong Power Station was shut down from February 12, 2008 to February 15, 2008 and the 25 MW Kopili StageII from February 12, 2008 to February 16, this year consequent to the militant attack on February 11, 2008.

During this period there was generation loss to the tune of 20 Million Units from these power stations.

The generation from these Power stations was restored after the Assam Government provided security cover to the employees and to the installation.

The units are since then in operation as per the normal schedule given by the North East Regional Load Dispatch Centre (NERLDC).

Mr Shinde said the matter regarding repeated threats by the militant groups to NEEPCO employees has been taken up with the Assam Governemnt.

It has been informed that one platoon of Assam Police has been provided by the State Government initially at the Kopili Power station for escorting the shift duty personnel of the power plant.

Thereafter, the security setup has been further strengthened subsequently by posting another two platoons of the Assam Police Battalion at Khandong and Umrongso. in addition, one company of the BSF and one company of Assam Rifles are also based at Umrongso to provide security cover to the employees of the NEEPCO and to the installations.

In response to another question Mr Shinde said the 3000 MW Dibang Multipurpose Project on the Dibang river has been entrusted to National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd for development.

This is a multipurpose project with additional benefits of flood moderation and is located about 1.5 Kms upstream of the confluence of the Ashu Pani River with Dibang river, in the Lower Dibang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh.

He said the project is expected to be completed in nine years after investment approval.

The Central Electric Authority (CEA) has accorded its concurrence to the project on January 23, 2008. The Public Investment Board (PIB) in its meeting held on January 28 has recommended the project at an estimated cost of Rs 15,886.40 crores at November 2007 price level.

The Power Minister said the project is to be accorded investment approval after all the statutory clearences such as environment and forest clearence have been obtained by NHPC.

The power from the project is expected to be supplied to the states in the North Eastern Region and also to other deficit states in the northern, western and eastern regions, he added.

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