The 2000-MW project in the Subansiri river, the largest in the country and being executed by the NHPC, has run into rough weather after the work for the project came to a halt in December, 2011.
The height of the dam was initially planned for 257 metres, but later it was reduced to 116 metres after the anti-dam activists under the banner of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti in Assam protested. The protesters, led by KMSS president Akhil Gogoi, contend that the dam will have adverse impact on the people living downstream and the flora and fauna.
"We are incurring a loss of Rs three crore per day as the machines and other equipment are lying idle and have already started rusting. The project, which was supposed to be commissioned in March, this year, is incurring a loss of another Rs seven crore per day against revenue generation," Executive Director of the project Rakesh told a group of visiting journalists.
Already more than 55 per cent work of the project has been completed including tunnel, dam, power house and other civil work. Machines could be seen lying scattered at the project site while most of the workers have been withdrawn from the project site following suspension of work since 2011.
Though the initial estimated cost of the project was Rs 6,285 core (2002-2005), the project authority has already invested Rs 6,600 crore. The cost of the project now has gone up by Rs 1,200 crore. Beside this, there was a recurring expenditure of Rs 50 crore per month.
"Any more delay will further escalate the cost of the project which will ultimately affect the people in terms of higher cost of electricity as the continuing delay is only adding to the final cost of power," Rakesh pointed out.
He said the apprehension expressed by the anti-dam protesters were ill-founded since it was by no means a mega dam project, but a run-of-the river project with small reservoirs where 10 per cent of the rain water would be stored while the rest would flow downstream.